Rajella fyllae, from Lütken (1898).

Belongs within: Chondrichthyes.
Contains: Raja, Bathyraja, Dipturus, Leucoraja.

The Rajiformes are fairly generalised rays with head, body and pectoral fins combined into a flat disc, and a slender tail bearing very small dorsal and caudal fins but lacking stinging spines (Bond 1996).

Members include the Rajidae, skates, more than 200 species of generally diamond-shaped rays. Skates are benthic feeders on small invertebrates such as crustaceans and mollusks. Their eggs are laid in oblong cases with a curved horn at each corner, called ‘mermaid’s purses’. Hulley (1972) recognised two lineages within the Rajidae based on the structure of the claspers: in Dipturus, Leucoraja and related genera, a ventral structure composed of erectile tissue called the rhipidion is present. In Bathyraja and Raja, the rhipidion is absent and instead there is a dorsal cartilage-supported structure called the pseudorhipidion.

<==Rajiformes [Rajoidei]
    |  i. s.: CooleyellaDC02
    |--PseudorajaH72 [PseudorajidaeB96]
    |    |--P. atlanticaH72
    |    `--P. fisheriH72
    |--Cyclobatis [Cyclobatidae]CDZ93
    |    |--C. major Davis 1887CDZ93
    |    |--C. oligodactylus Egerton 1844CDZ93
    |    `--C. tuberculatus Cappetta 1980CDZ93
    |    |--Arhynchobatis asperrimusH72
    |    |--PavorajaLC99b
    |    `--NotorajaLC99b
    |         |  i. s.: N. ochroderma McEachran & Last 1994LC99b
    |         `--N. (Insentiraja)LC99b
    |              |--N. (I.) laxipella Yearsley & Last 1992LC99b
    |              `--N. (I.) subtilispinosa (Stehmann 1985)LC99b
    |--Sclerorhynchidae [Sclerorhynchoidei]DC01
    |    |--MicropristisDC02
    |    |--LibanopristisDC02
    |    |--PtychotrygonDC01
    |    |--Schizorhiza stromeri Weiler 1930CDZ93
    |    |--Ctenopristis nougareti Arambourg 1940CDZ93
    |    |--Dalpiazia stromeri Checchia-Rispoli 1933CDZ93
    |    |--Ganopristis leptodon Arambourg 1935CDZ93
    |    |--Pucapristis Schaeffer 1963GM01
    |    |    `--P. branisi Schaeffer 1963GM01
    |    |--Ischyrhiza Leidy 1856GM01
    |    |    |--I. hartenbergeri Cappetta 1975GM01
    |    |    `--I. nigeriensis (Tabaste 1963)CDZ93
    |    `--OnchopristisCDZ93
    |         |--O. numidus (Haug 1905)CDZ93
    |         `--O. praecursor Thurmond 1971CDZ93
    |    |--Springeria Bigelow & Schroeder 1951H72
    |    |    |--*S. foliorostris Bigelow & Schroeder 1951H72
    |    |    |--S. longirostrisVF21
    |    |    `--S. ori Wallace 1967H72
    |    |--Anacanthobatis Von Bonde & Swart 1923H72
    |    |    |--*A. marmoratus Von Bonde & Swart 1923 [incl. A. dubius Von Bonde & Swart 1923, Springeria dubia]H72
    |    |    |--A. americanusH72
    |    |    |--A. borneensis Chan 1965LC99c
    |    |    |--A. longirostrisH72
    |    |    |--A. melanosoma (Chan 1965)LC99c
    |    |    |--A. nanhaiensis (Meng & Li 1981)LC99c
    |    |    `--A. stenosoma (Li & Hu 1982)LC99c
    |    `--Cruriraja Bigelow & Schroeder 1948LC99c, H72 [Crurirajidae]
    |         |--*C. atlantis Bigelow & Schroeder 1948H72
    |         |--C. cadenatiH72
    |         |--C. durbanensis (Von Bonde & Swart 1923)H72
    |         |--C. parcomaculata (Von Bonde & Swart 1923)H72
    |         |--C. poeyiH72
    |         |--C. rugosaH72
    |         `--C. triangularis Smith 1964H72
         |  i. s.: Malacoraja Stehmann 1970H72
         |           |--M. senta (Garman 1885) [=Raja senta]M02
         |           `--M. spinacidermis (Barnard 1923)H72 (see below for synonymy)
         |         PsammobatisH72
         |           |--P. extentaH72
         |           |--P. limaH72
         |           |--P. micropsH72
         |           `--P. scobinaH72
         |         RhinorajaH72
         |           |--R. kujiensisH72
         |           |--R. longicaudaH72
         |           `--R. odaiH72
         |         Breviraja Bigelow & Schroeder 1948H72
         |           `--B. colesiH72
         |         Gurgesiella [Gurgesiellidae]LC99a
         |           |--G. furvescensH72
         |           `--G. sibogae (Weber 1913)LC99a
         |         Rajorhina expansa (Davis 1887)CDZ93
         |         Mafdetia tibniensis Werner 1989CDZ93
         |         PteroplateaL43
         |           |--P. altavela [=Trygon altavela]L43
         |           |--P. hirundo Lowe 1843L43
         |           |--P. macluraL43
         |           `--P. micruraL43
         |  `--BathyrajaH72
            `--+--Amblyraja Malm 1877 [incl. Deltaraia Leigh-Sharpe 1924 (nom. inv.)]H72
               |    |--*A. radiata (Donovan 1808)H72 [=Raja radiataM02, Deltaraia radiataH72]
               |    |--A. duellojuradoi [=Raja (Amblyraja duellojuradoi]H72
               |    |--A. badia [=Raja (Amblyraja) badia]H72
               |    |--A. frerischi [=Raja (Amblyraja) frerischi]H72
               |    |--A. georgiana [=Raja (Amblyraja) georgiana]H72
               |    |--A. hypoborea [=Raja (Amblyraja) hypoborea]H72
               |    |--A. jenseniM02 [=Raja (Amblyraja) jenseniH72]
               |    `--A. robertsi (Hulley 1970) [=Raja robertsi]H72
                  `--Rajella Stehmann 1970H72
                       |--*R. fyllae (Lütken 1888) [=Raja fyllae]H72
                       |--R. annandalei (Weber 1913) [=Raja (Rajella) annandalei]LC99a
                       |--R. bigelowiM02
                       |--R. caudaspinosa (Von Bonde & Swart 1923) [=Raja (Rajella) caudaspinosa]H72
                       |--R. confundens (Hulley 1970) [=Raja (Rajella) confundens]H72
                       |--R. dissimilis (Hulley 1970) [=Raja (Rajella) dissimilis]H72
                       |--R. lentiginosa [=Raja (Rajella) lentiginosa]H72
                       |--R. leopardus (Von Bonde & Swart 1923) [=Raja (Rajella) leopardus]H72
                       `--R. ravidula (Hulley 1970) [=Raja (Rajella) ravidula]H72

Malacoraja spinacidermis (Barnard 1923)H72 [=Raja spinacidermisH72; incl. R. mollis Bigelow & Schroeder 1950H72, G61, R. (*Malacoraja) mollisH72]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B96] Bond, C. E. 1996. Biology of Fishes 2nd ed. Saunders College Publishing: Fort Worth.

[CDZ93] Cappetta, H., C. Duffin & J. Zidek. 1993. Chondrichthyes. In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Fossil Record 2 pp. 593–609. Chapman & Hall: London.

[DC01] Delsate, D., & L. Candoni. 2001. Description de nouveaux morphotypes dentaires de Batomorphii toarciens (Jurassique inférieur) du Bassin de Paris: Archaeobatidae nov. fam. Bull. Soc. Nat. Luxemb. 102: 131–143.

[DC02] Delsate, D., & L. Candoni. 2002. Les premieres raies (Chondrichthyes—Elasmobranchii) au Jurassique inferieur en Lorraine (Luxembourg, Belgique, France) et dans le Bassin de Paris. Bulletin de l’Académie Lorraine des Sciences 41 (3–4): 93–103.

[G61] Garrick, J. A. F. 1961. Studies on New Zealand Elasmobranchii. Part XIII. A new species of Raja from 1,300 fathoms. Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand 88 (4): 743–748.

[GM01] Gayet, M., L. G. Marshall, T. Sempere, F. J. Meunier, H. Cappetta & J-C. Rage. 2001. Middle Maastrichtian vertebrates (fishes, amphibians, dinosaurs and other reptiles, mammals) from Pajcha Pata (Bolivia). Biostratigraphic, palaeoecologic and palaeobiostratigraphic implications. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 169: 39–68.

[H72] Hulley, P. A. 1972. The origin, interrelationship and distribution of southern African Rajidae (Chondrichthyes, Batoidei). Annals of the South African Museum 60 (1): 1–103.

[LC99a] Last, P. R., & L. J. V. Compagno. 1999a. Rajidae. Hardnose skates. In: Carpenter, K. E., & V. H. Niem (eds) The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific vol. 3. Batoid fishes, chimaeras and bony fishes part 1 (Elopidae to Linophrynidae) pp. 1452–1456. FAO: Rome.

[LC99b] Last, P. R., & L. J. V. Compagno. 1999b. Arhynchobatidae. Softnose skates. In: Carpenter, K. E., & V. H. Niem (eds) The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific vol. 3. Batoid fishes, chimaeras and bony fishes part 1 (Elopidae to Linophrynidae) pp. 1457–1461. FAO: Rome.

[LC99c] Last, P. R., & L. J. V. Compagno. 1999c. Anacanthobatidae. Legskates. In: Carpenter, K. E., & V. H. Niem (eds) The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific vol. 3. Batoid fishes, chimaeras and bony fishes part 1 (Elopidae to Linophrynidae) pp. 1462–1466. FAO: Rome.

[L43] Lowe, R. T. 1843. On the fishes of Madeira. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 11: 81–95.

[M02] McEachran, J. D. 2002. Skates. Family Rajidae. In: Collette, B. B. & G. Klein-MacPhee (eds) Bigelow and Schroeder’s Fishes of the Gulf of Maine 3rd ed. pp. 60–75. Smithsonian Institute Press: Washington.

[VF21] Vullo, R., E. Frey, C. Ifrim, M. A. González González, E. S. Stinnesbeck & W. Stinnesbeck. 2021. Manta-like planktivorous sharks in Late Cretaceous oceans. Science 371: 1253–1256.

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