Thornback Ray - Raja Clavata
Latin: Raja Clavata
English: Thornback Ray, Thornback Skate
German: Der Nagelrochen
French: La Raie Bouclée
Italian: La Razza Chiodata
Croatian: Raža, Kamenica, Klinka, Žutica
About: The Thornback Ray or Thornback Skate is a fish of the Rajidae family. It has a flattened, square-shaped body with broad, wing-like pectoral fins with a long, thorny tail. The back is covered in numerous thorny spines with many dots and spots that aid in camouflage. Color vary depending on the location and habitat - back is brown-gray-reddish with lighter and darker spot, dots and stripes and stomach is pale gray-white.
Adult fish can grow up to 1.1 m (3.6 ft) in length and can weigh up to 8 kg (17.6 pounds). On average, it is much smaller fish - around 1.5kg (3 pounds).
It is often found buried in the sand and mud, where it waits for passing prey. Thornback Ray also feeds actively, searching for prey like shrimps, crabs, small fish etc.
Spawning period depends on location, but generally it spawns during the winter until the early spring.
Habitat: It is commonly found in the coastal waters of Europe and the Atlantic coast of Africa. Its natural habitats are open and shallow seas with sedimentary and flat seabeds such as mud, sand or gravel at depths between 10 and 400 m, but it is much more common between 20 and 80 meters.
It is one of the most commonly found rays by divers, especially near estuaries.
Fishing period: It can be caught all year long, especially out of spawning period - from the spring until the winter.
Fishing rigs and tackle: It is commonly caught on longline and on the fishing rod using various baits: sardines, bogues, squids, shrimps etc. Fishing tackle should be sized according to the anticipated fish size.
Longlines are laid down in the dawn and are kept in water 2 to 4 hours, but it will accept bait all day long, if 'served' properly :o)
Cuisine: White and tender flesh is very tasty, in some areas even considered as delicacy. It is commonly part of fish soup or fish stew (fresh or dried), but it can also be fried or barbequed.
As with any other fish, feel free to use lemon, garlic, parsley, olive oil etc to improve the taste and flavor even more ...