Spotted ray (Raja montagui)
The spotted ray, also known as the homelyn ray, is one of the smallest and also one of the commonest of the skates and rays found around Ireland. Juveniles are smooth, but adults are prickly, with a row of thorns running down their backs. They often have dark spots forming rings around a pale circle on each wing, known as eye spots. The spotted ray is oviparous, with females laying 60-70 eggs per year.
The conservation status of the spotted ray is listed as least concern on the Irish Red List for cartilaginous fish and by the IUCN Red List. Although spotted ray is a common part of bycatch in commercial trawling and gillnet fisheries, their population appears to be stable, and their small size may give them greater resilience to landing and fishing impacts.
The Marine Sportfish Tagging Programme tagged 329 spotted ray between 1971 and 2006, with 63% tagged in Tralee Bay. Only 16 spotted ray have been recaptured, most within 10km of their tagging point, with a furthest distance travelled of 120km.