Marbled Torpedo Ray, Marbled Electric Ray, Spotted Torpedo Ray.
A medium-large torpedo ray with a broad sub-circular disc. Snout short, tip straight across, sometimes with a bulbous central lobe. Pectoral fin apices broadly rounded. Eyes small and spiracles smaller and well separated. Spiracles circular with 6-9 thin papillae pointing towards centre. Mouth arched. Nostrils with well defined nasal flaps.
Pelvic fins long, margins broadly rounded. Tail short and broad based. Dorsal fins tall with broadly rounded apices and posterior margins. First dorsal posterior margin over pelvic fin. Caudal fin large, sub-triangular or oval, apices broadly to narrowly rounded, posterior margin convex.
Dorsum greyish brown to dark brown, with a dense pattern of pale blotches and vermiculations that form an irregular marbled appearance. Ventrum white.
Maximum length 100cm but usually ~60cm. Size at birth 10-14cm.
Temperate to tropical seas. Benthic on soft bottoms, seagrass beds, and rocky reefs. Found close inshore and on continental shelf and upper slope. From 10-370m.
Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean. The marbled torpedo ray occurs from southern Scandinavia to South Africa including the Mediterranean Sea.
The marbled torpedo ray is taken as bycatch in demersal trawl fisheries, coastal trammel nets and bottom longlines. It is not commercially fished and is often discarded at sea due to its low commercial value (Minervini et al. 1985). Little information is available on catches of this species as a result of discarding at sea and aggregation of landings data. Fishing pressure from demersal trawl fisheries is relatively intensive on the continental shelf off western Africa.
Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., Serena, F.,Ungaro, N., Ferretti, F., Pheeha, S. & Human, B. 2009. Torpedo marmorata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T161328A5398909. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2009-2.RLTS.T161328A5398909.en. Downloaded on 04 June 2021.
Aplacental viviparous. Litter size 2-32 pups. Gestation ~10 months.
Diet consists of small benthic fishes and invertebrates.
Nocturnal; remains buried under sand during the day.
Marbled torpedo rays can produce electric discharges of up to 200 volts. Even newborns can use their electric organs to incapacitate prey.
Reaction to divers
Easy to approach. Rarely swims away but may try to shock divers when threatened.
Marbled torpedo rays are encountered at numerous spots throughout their range. They are often seen at dive sites in the Channel Islands (UK), around the Mediterranean, and perhaps most frequently at the Canary Islands off northwest Africa.