Thornback, or Raja clavata, L. a voracious fish, frequenting the sandy shores of Britain, and sometimes weighing a stone and upwards. The upper surface of its body is of a pale ash-colour, intermixed with black streaks ; its skin is rough, and has small tubercles, resembling shagreen: there are rows of strong sharp spines disposed along its back and tail. Thornbacks chiefly subsist on herrings, flat-fish, and sand-eels, though they occasionally devour crabs, and other shell-fish. Their spawning season is in June ; but their young are produced in the months of July and August: the latter (as well as those of the Skate) are called maids, till they arrive at an age sufficient for breeding.
These fish begin to acquire a proper flavour in November, and continue in perfection longer than the skate ; - the young of both species are, at all seasons, esteemed wholesome food.