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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Common Skate Dipturus batis

The common skate is the largest and heaviest of the European rays. Due to overexploitation, it is now a rare species throughout most of its range and has become extinct in some regions. The common skate's snout is long and pointed, and the front margin of the wings is strongly concave, giving this skate an overall angular shape. Its tail has a row of spines along its length but, unlike the large stinging spine of stingrays, these are not venomous.

The common skate is sometimes called the blue skate because its underside is bluish gray. It can swim strongly and feeds on fish in mid-water as well as hunting over the seabed for crabs, lobsters, bottom-dwelling fish, and other rays. Its oblong egg cases are up to 10 in (25 cm) long. They are laid in fall or winter and hatch two to five months later. While mature common skates prefer deeper water, the young will spend time in shallow waters.

Common Skatezoom image
  • Order Rajiformes
  • Length Up to 9 ft (3 m)
  • Weight Up to 220 lb (100 kg)
  • Depth 330–3,300 ft (100–1,000 m)
  • Distribution Eastern Atlantic from northern Europe to southern Africa, Mediterranean
Common Skate habitat mapzoom image