Immunoglobulin heavy chain genes from Raja erinacea have been isolated by cross hybridization with probes derived from the immunoglobulin genes of Heterodontus francisci (horned shark), a representative of a different elasmobranch order. Heavy chain variable (VH), diversity (DH) and joining (JH) segments are linked closely to constant region (CH) exons, as has been described in another elasmobranch. The nucleotide sequence homology of VH gene segments within Raja and between different elasmobranch species is high, suggesting that members of this phylogenetic subclass may share one VH family. The organization of immunoglobulin genes segments is diverse; both VD-J and VD-DJ joined genes have been detected in the genome of non-lymphoid cells. JH segment sequence diversity is high, in contrast to that seen in a related elasmobranch. These data suggest that the clustered V-D-J-C form of immunoglobulin heavy chain organization, including germline joined components, may occur in all subclasses of elasmobranchs. While variation in VH gene structure is limited, gene organization appears to be diverse.