Rays, skates and sawfish make up the Rajiformes, an order of cartilaginous fish containing 12 families. Fish in this group generally have flat bodies and a large pectoral fin that forms a disc. The undulation of this fin propels the fish through the water. Though most are found in marine waters, there are some freshwater species - notably the river rays. Some species of stingray have a toxin which can be harmful, and even fatal, to humans.
Scientific name: Rajiformes
The following habitats are found across the Rays, skates and sawfish distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
Rajiformes is one of the four orders of batoids, flattened cartilaginous fishes related to sharks.
Rajiforms are distinguished by the presence of greatly enlarged pectoral fins, which reach as far forward as the sides of the head, with a generally flattened body. The undulatory pectoral fin motion diagnostic to this taxon is known as rajiform locomotion. The eyes and spiracles are located on the upper surface of the body, and the gill slits on the underside. They have flattened, crushing teeth, and are generally carnivorous, although manta rays are filter feeders. Most species give birth to live young, although some lay eggs with a horny capsule ("mermaid's purse").
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