Thursday, August 25, 2011

Barndoor Skate

Skates are cartilaginous fish that look similar to Rays, which are probably more widely known. The Barndoor Skate, today’s animal, can be found in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, swimming from the coasts of Canada all the way down to North Carolina. They are one of the largest Skates in this area of the ocean.

Dipturus laevis
You can identify a Barndoor Skate by its sharp angles, pointed snout, and reddish brown spotted dorsal side. They have very long lived and slow to grow. These fish don’t reach sexual maturity until the age of 11

Barndoor Skates are not picky when it comes to their food. They are exceptional predators, and will eat just about any type of small, benthic dwelling creature. This includes Crustaceans, Cephalopods, Fish, Mollusks, and Worms! 

Barndoor Skates have commercial value to humans, though they are not typically fished intentionally, and are often a bycatch. Their parts are used for bait, fish meal, and for pet food. The meat off their wings is consumed by humans. While these Skates were once abundant, their numbers have declined significantly since the 1960s. It is believed the population may have dropped by as much as 99% in certain areas. Since the 1990s, fishing has declined in their range, and prohibitions on their capture have allowed the population to become stable
IUCN Status : Endangered
Location : Northwest Atlantic
Size : Length up to 5ft (1.5m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata – Class : Chondrichthyes – Order : Rajiformes
Family : Rajidae – Genus : Dipturus – Species : D. laevis

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