Most fish species have a bony
skeleton. The skeleton of an undulate ray, however, is made
of cartilage, like that of the sharks to which it is closely
Undulate rays have a vivid pattern of
swirling brown stripes and yellow and white spots on their skin,
which camouflages them against the sandy seabeds on which they
live. Their rounded, flattened bodies grow up to 1m in
length, and they have a thin, whip-like tail that is almost the
same length again. Their backs and tails are spiny for
protection from predators (they are harmless to people), and they
also have prickly skin on their undersides.
Undulate rays are found in comparatively
deep water, from 50-200m depth, and they eat a variety of
bottom-dwelling prey including crabs.
Undulate rays produce oblong eggs with pointed horns at the
corners, and lay them into the sand, mud or gravel seabed.
Because they lay only a few eggs they are vulnerable to fishing, as
it takes a long time for the population to recover when numbers
begin to decline.
Other common names
Undulate painted ray
In British waters, the undulate ray is most common in the
English Channel, although its distribution also includes the west
coast of England and Wales and most of Ireland. Its wider European
range is the eastern Atlantic from Morocco to southern Ireland, and
the western Mediterranean.
- This is a UK BAP Priority Species (BAP species
are now Species of Principal Importance/Priority
- Species of principal importance for the purpose of conservation
of biodiversity under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities
Life Information Network
World Register of Marine Species
JNCC - UK BAP Priority
Species and Habitats