Blonde ray, Raja brachyura
IUCN Red List assessment: Near Threatened
Artist: Lauren B
From BritishSeaFishing.co.uk: “Diamond shape with a short, pointed snout. Most commonly light brown/yellow in colour, covered in black spots (which run to the very edge of wings) with larger light spots dotted around the body. The underside is pale. Females have an uninterrupted row of spines running down the back, males have a row of spines with gaps. Skin smooth when immature but covered in small thorns when fully grown. Blonde ray can have a wingspan approaching five feet and weigh 40lbs, although most are smaller than this.
They live over soft sand and muddy seabeds in depths all of the way down to almost one thousand metres, although typically they live in a few hundred metres depth. Blonde ray will be found in shallower water when immature and also come into coastal waters to lay their eggs in rocky, coastal waters in the breeding season of spring and early summer.
Blonde ray mature late at ten years of age and have a low reproductive capacity. This makes them vulnerable to overfishing. Like most other ray and skate species blonde ray are opportunistic feeders. They have powerful crunching jaws and will feed on crabs, lobsters, shellfish and molluscs, and also take small fish and sandeels at times.”
About the artist:
Hi! I’m Lauren and I’ve been at Defra for about a 18 months now, working in the international biodiversity and climate division. I’ve really enjoyed taking part in the framed fish project, and learning more about our aquatic friends. Generally my creativity manifests through photography or graphic design, so painting fish is a new one for me, but there are some truly beautiful species out there in our waters, as you can see from some of the brilliant work on this site!