Clearnose Skate


Clearnose Skate - Raja eglanteria

*Information from FAO Species Identification Guide Western Central Atlantic*

clearnose skate
Size
Maximum to 79 cm total length and 52 cm width; common to about 70 cm total length in area.
Diagnostic characters:

Disc rhombic, about 1.2 to 1.3 times as broad as long; snout moderately projecting; anterior angle of snout 90 to 110 degrees; anterolateral margin of discstraight to slightly concave opposite spiracles; outer corners of disc abruptly rounded; posterior corners of disc broadly rounded. Snout moderately long, preorbital length 14 to 15% total length. Mouth straight to slightly arched; teeth arranged in 46 to 54 rows in upper jaw. Pectoral-fin radials extend slightly anterior to midlength of snout. Anterior pelvic-fin lobe connected to posteriorlobe by membrane, and anteriorlobe about 50% length of posterior lobe. Tail about 50% total length, lateral tail fold well developed and extending from tip of posterior lobe of pelvic fins to near tip of tail; dorsal fins of similar shape and size and separated by space equal to about 1/4 length of base of first dorsal fin. Denticles in band along anterior margin of disc and over much of remainder of disc; thorns in crescent-shaped arc along inner margin of orbits and spiracles; continuous row of thorns from nuchal region to first dorsal fin; 1 to 5 scapular thorns, not arranged with nuchal thorns in triangular patch; lateral and often parallel rowof thorns on each side of tail; 1 or 2 thorns between dorsal fins. Precaudal vertebrae number 33 to 35, predorsal caudal vertebrae number 56 to 59, pectoral-fin radials number 81 to 82. Colour: upper dorsal surface light brown with dark brown to black spots and bars; area on either side of snout semitransparent; ventral surface white. Individuals from the southern part of the range blunter snouts, a less distinct colour pattern, and mature at a smaller size than those from the northern part of the range and may represent a separate species.

Habitat, biology, and fisheries

This species occurs from the shore zone to 119 m at temperatures from 5 to 27° C but it is most common between the shore and 111 m at 15 to 25° C in area. Occasionally found in estuaries but not in fresh water. Food consists mainly of decapod crustaceans, bivalves, polychaetes, squids, and ray-finned fishes. Exploited in the southeastern USA, but separate statistics are not reported for this species. Caught mainly with bottom trawls. Marketed fresh and salted; also used for bait.

Distribution
Western Atlantic coast of USA from Massachusetts and occasionally from Gulf of Maine, bordering Florida and throughout northern Gulf of Mexico to northern Tamaulipas state, Mexico.