Temporal range: middle Eocene–Recent
Little skate (Raja erinacea)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Superorder: Batoidea
Order: Rajiformes
L. S. Berg, 1940

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").



The following families are recognized:

A fossil family is Rhombodontidae, from the Maastrichtian stage of the Cretaceous period of Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.[1]


  1. ^ Rhombodus DAMES 1881 Extinct myliobatoid ray — Upper Cretaceous by
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