Sharks play an essential rol in the health of our oceans

Starry ray

Amblyraja radiata


The starry ray is a member of the family of rays (Rajidae) ad the order of the rays and skates (Rajaformes).

The starry ray lives in cool, temperature waters, far away from the coast, and can most frequently be found on a depth of 50 to 100 meters. It is a common species in the North Sea, and feeds on fish, crustaceans and worms, but also on hydroids, mollusks, cephalopods and echinoderms. The starry ray can be a scavenger. The larger the ray, the larger its prey.


This ray lays eggs, and is therefore oviparous. A female can deposit 10 to 45 eggs per year, which have a characteristic ‘ray shape: a oblong with rigid horns on the points. They are deposited in pairs, on sandy and muddy bottoms. Egg cases are 3,5 to 9 cm long and 2,5 to 7 cm wide. In the North Sea, the eggs hatch after four months, the juveniles measure around 10 cm. In colder water, its can take up to three years until the embryo is fully developed.

  • Maximum length: 105 cm
  • Maximum weight: 11,5 kg
  • Maximum lifespan: 28 years
  • Habitat: up to 100 meter depth
  • Catches: the most common ray in the North Sea. Because of its habitat, it is not often caught in trawl nets. Populations in Canada have decreased strongly, and in the United States of America there are no catch regulations. The number of starry rays has declined strongly.
  • Status: classified as ‘Least Concern’; for the northeastern Atlantic, in the United States of America ‘Critically Endangered’ on the international IUCN Red List (





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