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EFSA - European Federation Of Sea Anglers

Long-nosed Skate (RAJA OXYRINHUS)

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SKATE, LONG-NOSED / RAJA OXYRINHUS
15 30 15.70 34.10 Puerto Rico Canary Is. 240896 D. Schroder
37 80 12.00 26.7 Puerto Rico Canary Is. 190897 H. Damerius
AT AT 72.60 160.1 Eire 82 F. Kok

The long-nosed skate (RAJA OXYRINHUS)

is commonly found on the floor of the sea, occurring at depths ranging from 82-2,215 feet (25-675 m). As a bottom dweller, it is often observed partially or entirely buried in sand and silt bottoms with its eyes protruding above the surface. The coloration of this skate is used to camouflage it with the bottom substrate. To move, the longnose skate undulates the pectoral fins in a graceful sweeping motion, appearing to fly rather than swim through the water.

The body of the long-nosed skate is flattened and not clearly defined from the pectoral fins or head. The anterior margin of the disk (body) is strongly concave. The pectoral fins are broad. The snout is stiff, long, and acutely pointed and the mouth is directed downward. The five gill slits are located ventrally and spiracles are large and behind the eyes on the dorsal surface. The small dorsal fins are closely spaced and located on the tail. The pelvic fins are deeply notched into two lobes. The caudal fin is reduced to a low ridge on the tail and the anal fin is absent.

The dorsal surface of the long-nosed skate is dark brown with a dark eyespot on the base of each pectoral fin. Each eyespot has a pale center and border. There may also be a light spot located just behind the eyespot. The ventral surface is bluish, gray-black or light brown in color

Long-nosed Skate (RAJA OXYRINHUS)

The maximum reported size of the long-nosed skate is 4.6 feet (140 cm) total length with individuals averaging 2-3 feet (.6-.9 m) total length. Males are generally much smaller than females. Males mature at 2-2.4 feet (61-74 cm) and females at 2.3-3.3 feet (70-100 cm) total length, correlating to 6-9 years of age. The life span of this species is currently unknown, although individuals up to 13 years of age have been reported.

The long-nosed skate feeds on small fishes and invertebrates including crustaceans, worms and mollusks. Skates feed by pouncing on top of its prey, trapping it against the sea floor.

Skates are oviparous, or egg laying, animals. Elasmobranchs have internal fertilization with the male inserting one clasper into the female cloaca to deliver the sperm. After fertilization, the female forms a tough, permeable egg case that surrounds the egg. After a period of several months, the female deposits the egg on the sea floor. The egg case is oblong with hook-like horns on each corner and measures about 3.9 inches (10 cm) long and 2.4 inches (6 cm) wide. The embryo continues to develop with nourishment provided by a yolk. When the yolk is depleted a few months later, the embryo exits the egg case. Upon hatching, the young skate is similar in appearance (other than size) to an adult longnose skate.

Information supplied by http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu

 
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