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Finfish Species

Skates

Big Skate Raja binoculata

Big SkateBig Skate Description

Body flattened with large pectoral fins expanded laterally and separated from the head by a deep notch. The notches, behind and on each side of the head, contain gill openings. The two dorsal fins are located far back on the body and near the caudal fin (tail). The head is blunt with a wide terminal mouth. Nostrils and barbels are found at the front part of the head. Grayish brown above with dark spots on back. White below.

Size

to 1.5 m (5 ft.)

Range/Habitat

SE Alaska to Chile and Gulf of California, but uncommon north of CA. Near reefs over sand or mud.

Depth

30 - 340 fm.

Remarks

10 - 600 ft. but usually inside 300 feet off California.

Credits

Picture: Bill Barss, ODFW; Texts Love, Probably more than you want to know about the fishers of the Pacific coast. And Peterson Field Guide to Pacific Coast Fishes.

Black Skate Bathyraja trachura

Black Skate Description

No large disc spines. Softnosed, short snout, broadly triangular. Black to dark slate-gray or brown on both surfaces, but sometimes slightly lighter below.

Size

To 89 cm. (35 in.).

Range/Habitat

Bering Sea south to Baja.

Depth

400 - 1090 fm.

Remarks

Similar to California skate and Starry skate which are hardnoses, have large spines on back, and pale underneath.

Other common names

Roughtail Skate

Credits

Picture: Bill Barss, ODFW.
Text: Peterson Field Guide to Pacific Coast Fishes

Longnose Skate Raja rhina

Longnose Skate

Longnose Skate

Description

Extremely long, acutely pointed snout. Front edge of discs curve inward. Pelvic fins deeply notched. Dark brown above, with two dark eyespots; sometimes has faint light and dark spots. Buish, gray, black, or light brown below.

Size

To 137 cm. (4.5 ft.)

Range/Habitat

Southeast Alaska to central Baja

Depth

30 - 340 fm.

Remarks

Similar to the Deepsea Skate which also has a long snout and deeply notched pelvic fins but lacks orbital spines and has a flabby snout.

Credits

Picture: OSU submersible cruise.
Text: Peterson Field Guide to Pacific Coast Fishes

Sandpaper Skate Bathyraja kincaidii

Sandpaper Skate Description

Scapular spines but no orbital ones; middorsal spines continuous from nape to 1st dorsal fin or isloated groups at nape, midback, and on tail. Snout is short, soft and triangular. Dorsal survice is rough.

Size

To 86 cm. (almost 3 ft).

Range/Habitat

Alaska to southern California.

Depth

On bottom at 30 - 700 fm.

Remarks

Egg case rough with strong side keels and long horns.

Credits

Picture: Bill Barss, ODFW.
Text: Peterson Field Guide to Pacific Coast Fishes.

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