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Spotback Skate

Atlantoraja castelnaui


The spotback skate is a large species of coastal skate found only off the coast of Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina.

The spotback skate is one of the largest benthic batoids (flat-bodies cartilaginous marine fish) in the south-west Atlantic. Because of this, they have been heavily exploited by trawl fisheries. Skates, like all cartilaginous fish, have slow growth and low reproduction rates and so their population recovers slowly. The spotback skate is oviparous, laying eggs in pairs together.

There are currently no conservation measures in place in Brazil, although in Argentina this species is included in the annual catch quota of the fishery for coastal skates. According to the IUCN Red List of threatened species, fishery landing statistics should be improved by better identification of the spotback skate when it is caught. This will aid in understanding population sizes and fishing pressure.

  • Order: Rajiformes
  • Family: Arhynchobatidae
  • Population: Unknown
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: Up to 132cm (?)
  • Depth Range (m): Up to 220m

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 5.69 (?)
ED Score: 36.12 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


The spotback skate is found in the Southwest Atlantic on the coasts of Brazil, Uruguay and northern coast of Argentina.

Habitat and Ecology

This is a demersal (bottom dwelling) species, feeding mainly on fishes. Its diet is somewhat size dependent with smaller individuals also eating decapods and larger individuals eating elasmobranchs and cephalopods. The vertical range varies between Brazil and Argentina, with species having a wider range in Brazil, probably due to low temperatures being reached deeper than in Argentina.

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