Blonde ray

Blonde ray

Blonde ray ©Peter Verhoog

Blonde ray

Scientific name: Raja brachyura
This large skate has tiny, prickly spines all over its back.

Species information


Length: Up to 120 cm
Weight: Up to 14.3 kg
Average Lifespan: Can live for up to 15 years

Conservation status

The blonde ray is listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List.

When to see

Between June and August


The blonde ray is a large skate that lives close to the sea floor. It likes sandy areas where its ochre-coloured body is camouflaged against the seabed, hiding it from any predators.

Because they are a relatively large skate they can feed on cuttlefish and sandeels, as well as a variety of small crustaceans and molluscs.

How to identify

The blonde ray is large and diamond shaped, with small dark spots all over its back that extend to the edge of its wings, as well as a scattering of larger pale spots.

It could be confused with the spotted ray, but the spots on the back of the spotted ray don't extend to the very edge of the wings, as they do on the blonde ray.

In our area

Blonde ray can be most on most off-shore sand banks arounds the Irish coast, and is commonly caught along the Antrim coast. If you want to see one of these rays check out Portrush, Dunseverick, Ballycastle and Red Bay throughout the Summer months!


Found all around the UK.

Did you know?

The English Channel is an important breeding ground for blonde rays, with breeding usually occurring around April and July.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts are working with sea users, scientists, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas', where marine wildlife thrives. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust or checking out our Action Pages.