Diets, feeding habits, and trophic relations of six deep-benthic skates (Rajidae) in the western Bering Sea

Alexei M. Orlov

aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology, pp. 45-60, Volume 7, Issue 2 – June 2003

The diets of six species of skates inhabiting the western Bering Sea were examined: Aleutian skate, Bathyraja aleutica, Alaska skate B. parmifera, Matsubara skate B. matsubarai, white-blotched skate B. maculata, white-brow skate B. minispinosa, and Bering skate Rhinoraja iterrupta. The diets of predatory skates (Alaska, Aleutia, white-blotched, Matsubaa, and white-brow skates) consisted of large crustaceans, cephalopods and fishes. Benthophagic Bering skates consumed mainly Tanner crabs, gammarid amphipods, and shrimps. The consumption of worms and crustaceans by predatory skates declined with increasing skate size, whereas consumption of fishes increased. The consumption of worms and small crustaceans by benthophagic Bering skates declined with increasing skate size while consumption of crabs and squid increased. Diets of male and female skates differed, probably due mostly to the effect of size. Among the species examined, three skate pairs had a medium level of dietary similarity: Aleutian and Alaska skates, Alaska and white-brow skates, and white-brow and Bering skates.

Full Text | PDF (416 KB)


Abdel-Aziz, S. H. 1986. Food and feeding habits of Raja species (Batoidei) in the Mediterranean waters of Alexandria. Bulletin of Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries of ARE, 12: 265-276.

Abdel Aziz, S. H., Khalil A. N. & S. A. Abdel Maguid. 1993. Food and feeding habits of the common guitarfish, Rhinobatos rhinoatos in the Egyptian Mediterranean waters. Indian Journal of Marine Sciences, 22: 287-290.

Ajayi, T. O. 1982. Food and feeding habits of Raja species (Batoidei) in Carmarthen Bay, Bristol Channel. Journal of Marine Biological Association of the U.K., 62: 215-223.

Berestovsky, E. G. 1989. Feeding habits of Raja radiata and R. fyllae in the Barents and Norwegian Seas. Voprosy Ikhtiologii, 29: 994-1002 (In Russian).

Brodeur, R. D. & P. A. Livingston. 1988. Food habits and diet overlap of various Eastern Bering Sea fishes. U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS F/NWC, 127: 1-76.

Chuchukalo, V. I., Lapko V. V. & N. A. Kuznetsova et al. 1999. Feeding of groundfishes at the shelf and continental slope of the northern Sea of Okhotsk. Izvestiya TINRO, 126: 24-57 (In Russian).

Devadoss, P. 1978. On the food of rays, Dasyatis uarnak (Forskal), D. alcocki (Annadale) and D. sephen (Forskål). Indian Journal of Fisheries, 25: 10-13.

Dolganov, V. N. 1983. Guide to the diagnostic characters of cartilaginous fishes from the Far East Seas of the U.S.S.R. and neighboring waters. TINRO: Vladivostok. 92 pp. (In Russian).

Dolganov, V. N. 1998a. Reproduction of skates of family Rajidae, of the Far-Eastern Seas of Russia. Izvestiya TINRO, 124: 425-428 (In Russian).

Dolganov, V. N. 1998b. Distribution and migration of skates of family Rajidae, of the Far Eastern Seas of Russia. Izvestiya TINRO, 124: 433-437 (In Russian).

Dolganov,, V. N. 1998c. Feeding of skates of family Rajidae, and their role in ecosystems of the Far-Eastern Seas of Russia. Izvestiya TINRO, 124: 417-424. (In Russian).

Dolganov, V. N. 1999. Geographic and bathymetric distribution of skates of the family Rajidae, in the Russian Far East Seas and adjacent waters. Voprosy Ikhtiologii, 39: 428-430. (In Russian).

Dolganov, V. N. & V. N. Tuponogov. 1999. Identification sheets of skates of genera Bathyraja and Rhynoraja (family Rajidae), of the Russian Far East Seas. Izvestiya TINRO, 126: 657-664 (In Russian).

Ebert, D. A. Cowley, P. D. & L. J. V. Compagno. 1991. A preliminary investigation of the feeding ecology of skates (Batoidea: Rajidae), off the west coast of southern Africa. South African Journal of Marine Science, 10: 71-81.

Ezzat A., Abdel-Aziz, S. H., El-Gharabawy, M. M. & M. O. Hussein. 1987. The food of Raja miraletus Linnaeus, 1758 in Mediterranean waters off Alexandria. Bulletin of Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries of ARE, 13: 59-74.

Fatykhov, R. N., Poltev Yu. N., Mukhametov, I. N. et al. 2000. Spatial distribution of skate mass species, Bathyraja, in the region of the Northern Kuril Islands and Southeastern Kamchatka in different seasons of 1986-1994. Commercial and biological studies of fishes in the Pacific waters of the Kurils Islands and adjacent areas of the Okhotsk and Bering Seas in 1992-1998. VNIRO: Moscow.: 104-120 (In Russian).

Glubokov, A. I. & A. M. Orlov. 2000. Some morphophysiological indices and feeding peculiarities of the Aleutian skate Bathyraja aleutica from the western Bering Sea. Voprosy Rybolovstva, 1: 126-149 (In Russian).

Gordon, J. D. M., & J. A. R. Duncan. 1989. A note of the distribution and diet of deep-water rays (Rajidae), in an area of the Rockall Trough. Journal of Marine Biology Association of the U.K., 69: 655-658.

Holden, M. J. & R. N. Tucker. 1974. The food of Raja clavata Linnaeus 1758, Raja montagui Fowler 1910, Raja naevus Muller and Henle 1841 and Raja brachyura Lafont 1873 in British waters. Journal du Conseil International pour L’exploration de la Mer, 35: 189-193.

Ishihara, H. 1990. The skates and rays of the western North Pacific: an overview of their fisheries, utilization, and classification. U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA Technical Report NMFS, 90: 485-497.

Ishihara, H., & R. Ishiyama. 1985. Two new North Pacific skates (Rajidae), and a revised key to Bathyraja in the area. Japan Journal of Ichthyology, 32: 143-179.

Ishiyama, R. 1958. Studies on the Rajid fishes (Rajidae) found in the waters around Japan. Journal of Shimonoseki College of Fisheries, 7: 1-202.

Livingston, P. A. & Y. de Reynier. 1996. Groundfish food habits and predation on commercially important prey species in the Eastern Bering Sea from 1990 to 1992. U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA/ NMFS, Alaska Fisheries Science Center Processed Report, 96-04: 1-214.

Lushnikova, V. P. & I. P. Kirnosova. 1990. Feeding and feeding necessities of thornback ray Raja clavata in the Black Sea. Biological resources of the Black Sea. VNIRO: Moscow.: 58-64 (In Russian)

McEachran, J. D. & T. Miyake. 1990. Zoogeography and bathymetry of skates (Chondrichthyes, Rajoidei). U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA Technical Report NMFS, 90: 305-326.

Masuda, H., Amaoka, H., Araga C. et al. 1984. The fishes of the Japanese Archipelago. Tokai University Press: Tokyo. 437 pp.

Mito, K. 1974. Food relationships among benthic fish populations in the Bering Sea on the Theragra chalcogramma fishing grounds in October and November of 1972. Master of Science Thesis. Hokkaido University Graduate School: Hakodate. 135 pp.

Nakaya, K. & S. Shirai. 1992. Fauna and zoogeography of deep-benthic chondrichthyan fishes around the Japanese Archipelago. Japan Journal of Ichthyology, 39: 37-48.

Nikol’sky, G. V. 1974. Ecology of fish. Vysshaya shkola: Moscow. 367 pp. (In Russian) Orlov, A. M. 1998a. The diets and feeding habits of some deep-water benthic skates (Rajidae) in the Pacific waters off the northern Kuril Islands and southeastern Kamchatka. Alaska Fishery Research Bulletin, 5: 1-17.

Orlov, A. M. 1998b. On feeding of mass species of deep-sea skates (Bathyraja spp., Rajidae) from the Pacific waters of the northern Kuril Islands and south-eastern Kamchatka. Voprosy Ikhtiologii, 38: 659-668 (In Russian).

Orlov, A. M. 1998c. Demersal ichthyofauna of Pacific waters off the northern Kuril Islands and south-eastern Kamchatka. Biologiya Morya, 24: 146-160 (In Russian).

Parin, N. V. 1971. Order Rajiformes. Wildlife. Vol. 4, Part 1. Prosveshcheniye: Moscow: 56-57 (In Russian) Pedersen, S. A. 1995. Feeding habits of starry ray (Raja radiata) in west Greenland waters. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 52: 43-53.

Robishaud, D. A., Elner, R. W., & R. F. J. Bailey. 1991. Differential selection of crab Chionoecetes opilio and Hyas spp. as prey by sympatric cod Gadus morhua and thorny skate Raja radiata. U.S. Fishery Bulletin, 89: 669-680.

Schoener, T. W. 1970. Nonsynchronous spatial overlap of lizards in patchy habitats. Ecology, 51: 408-418.

Smale M. J. & P. D. Cowley. 1992. The feeding ecology of skates (Batoidea: Rajidae), off the cape South Coast, South Africa. South African Journal of Marine Science, 12: 823-834.

Templeman, W. 1982. Stomach contents of the thorny skate, Raja radiata, from the Northwest Atlantic. Journal of Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Science, 3: 123-126.

Previous post

Volume 7, Issue 2, June 2003

Next post

Reef fishes of St. Paul’s Rocks: new records and notes on biology and zoogeography

The Author



No Comment

Leave a reply