R. Pastinaca, Linn. Sysi. Nat. torn. 1. p. 396. Bloch, Ichth. pl. 82. Don. Brit. Fish. vol. v. pl. 99. Turt. Brit. Faun. p. 112. Blainv. Faun. Franc, p. 35. pl. 6. Pastinaca marina, Will. Hist. Pise. p. 67. tab. C. 3. Trygon Pastinaca, Flem. Brit. An. p. 170. Sting-Ray, Penn. Brit. Zool. vol. iii. p. 95. Id. (Edit. 1812). vol. iii. p. 125. Pastenague commune, Cuv. Reg. An. torn. ii. p. 399.
From two to three feet; rarely more.
(Form). Disk of the body more approaching to orbicular than in the last sub-genus; very thick and convex in the middle, but growing thin towards the edges: the transverse diameter scarcely more than one-fourth greater than the length measured from the end of the snout to the vent: snout sharp, but very short, scarcely projecting beyond the pectorals, the anterior margins of which meet at an obtuse angle: mouth small; teeth small, arranged in oblique rows, appearing granulated on the surface: eyes moderate: skin entirely smooth above and below, " excepting a few small tubercles along the mesial line of the back and tail, as well as on the upper and posterior part of the pectoral fins *:" tail varying in length, less than, equal to, or very much exceeding, half the entire length; slender, tapering at the extremity to a fine point, without any trace of fins, but armed, at about the first third of its length, with a very strong, sharp, serrated spine, the serratures directed backwards: pectorals large, rounded posteriorly and at the lateral angles: ventrals small, entire. Obs. Occasionally the tail is found armed with two spines, owing, it is said, to the circumstance of the spine being annually renewed, and the new one sometimes appearing before the old one drops off. (Colours). "Upper part of the body dirty yellow, the middle of an obscure blue; lower part white; the tail and spine dusky." Penn. According to Donovan, small specimens are more or less spotted. Met with principally on the southern coasts, and rather less frequently than some of the other species. It occurs at Weymouth, as well as on the coast of Cornwall. The spine is capable of inflicting a severe wound, but is not poisonous. Flesh said to be rank and disagreeable. The liver is large, and yields a great deal of oil.
* Wern. Mem. vol. 11. p. 429. ‡ Reg. An. torn. 11. p. 399.
† Faun. Frang. p. 29. pl. 4. f. 1. ‡ Faun. Frang. p. 35.
Brit. Zool. vol. iii. p. 88. Id. (Edit. 1812). vol. iii. p. 128. R. Aquila, Linn. Syst. Nat. torn. i. p. 396.? Blainv. Faun. Franc. p. 38. pl. 7.? L'Aigle de Mer, Cuv. Reg. An. torn. ii. p. 401.?
Pennant states that in 1769, Mr. Travis, of Scarborough, had brought to him by a fisherman of that town the tail of a Ray (the body having been flung away) which was above three feet long, extremely slender and taper, and destitute of a fin at the end. It is conjectured by the Editor of the last edition of the " British Zoology," that this fish must have been the R. Aquila of Linnaeus, a species which is found in the Mediterranean, and which attains to a large size. It is, however, equally probable that it may have belonged to the next sub-genus. The R. Aquila cannot, therefore, be considered otherwise than as a doubtful native.
(4. Cephaloptera, Dumer).