Physical Description

  • A ray with body in shape of round disc, then a long tail with two high dorsal (back) fins of equal size.
  • They have a broad rounded snout and 60-75 small blunt teeth. 
  • Sandy brown to dark gray coloration on back with prominent dark blotches and bars, especially prominent on eyes and rounded snout.
  • Lighter coloration below with dark spots on edges of fins.


  • Southern California to Baja California, Mexico.
  • Gulf of California, Mexico.


  • Found in rocky shallow areas, moving offshore into sandy bottoms in autumn and winter.
  • Can be found in tide pools, bays, lagoons, and caves as well.
  • Live at depths of 0 to 650 feet; but mainly in 0 to 30 feet depths.


  • Females mature at 22-30 inches length, and males mature at 25-27.5 inches.
  • They are ovoviviparous, meaning a female gives birth to live young after incubating them in eggs inside her.
  • Females often give birth to litters of 4-11 pups.


  • Mollusks and crustaceans are eaten by juveniles.
  • Midshipmen, California anchovy, striped cusk eel, demersal and pelagic fish, crustaceans, squid, mantis shrimp, hermit crabs, are eaten by adults.


  • Humans.
  • Upper-trophic level predator (meaning high up the food chain).

Interesting Facts

  • Their latin name comes from “made rough” due to their prickly skin.
  • There is a large artisanal fishery for them in Baja California, Mexico.

Sources: Fishbase;; Cervantes-Guitterez et al. 2017; Dana Point Fishing Company; Blanca-Parra et al. 2012

Photo: Herb Gruenhagen