Ronnie Campbell has been involved in common skate fishing around Oban for many years. His expertise in the targeting, capture and release of these monstrous elasmobranch species is renowned throughout the UK and Europe. I was fortunate to be among a group
The undulate ray has the typical kite shape with rounded tips to the wings and a shortish snout. The back and snout are covered with short spines.
The body of the thornback ray has the kite shape that is typical of the skates and rays. As its name suggests it has thorns on its upper surface particularly from the root of the tail down to the dorsal fins at its tip.
The spotted ray has a concave, curved snout and the typical ray wings. The young spotted ray has small spines on the upper surface near the front edge and in the adults these extend further back.
The small eyed ray has rounded wing tips and a shortish snout. As its name suggests it has comparatively small eyes.
The cuckoo ray is one of the rarer of the European rays and has the typical ray shape with comparatively large rounded pectoral fins. There is a double line of spines down the tail and rear of the back.
The blonde ray has the common Rajidae kite shape with a relatively thick body and a short snout. The tips of the pectoral fins are angular and there are a line of spines down the mid-line of the tail.
The tope is a member of the shark family and has the typical slender shark shape with five gill slits. The upper lobe of the tail fin is large and ends in a triangular shape.
The spurdog is the only common small shark found in the North Sea and eastern North Atlantic which has a spine in front of the two dorsal fins and lacks an anal fin.
The starry smoothhound is closely related to the smoothhound and resembles it closely. The lower lobe on the tail is larger than its relative and the denticles are broad with grooves along their length.