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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Fin-tastic Facts About Skate Fish For Kids

Find skate fish facts that will amaze you.

Like other Chondrichthyes, skates are cartilaginous fish. Since they belong to the family Rajidae and order Rajiformes, like any other rays, they have a flat body with pectoral fins attached to their head, extending to the tail. The tail produces electric shocks with weak impulses for communication, so a skate is not as dangerous as stingrays can be. With wing-like fins, skates swim very fast and smoothly along the ocean floor's bottom. Skates have a big skate egg case known as 'the mermaid's purse' to produce their young from. The mermaid's purse is laid down on the bottom of the ocean on the ocean floor, but sometimes due to ocean currents, it can get washed away to the shore. Therefore, you can sometimes find a mermaid's purse on the beach if there are skate fish living in the seas nearby.

According to the Florida Museum of Natural History, the skate fish is believed to have evolved over a period of 200 million years, and has been in existence since the Jurassic period! if you go to visit an aquarium, make sure to search for the skate fish, to see them in real life, but for now, you can read below to discover the best fun facts about skate fish. For more animal and fish fun, check out these guides to swai fish and the giant clam.

Skate Fish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Skate Fish?

Skate fish are flat body fish with cartilage instead of bones that belong to the Rajidae family. A skate fish looks a little like a Stingray but with some differences. Sharks, skates, and rays are all Chondrichthyes.

What class of animal does a Skate Fish belong to?

Skate fish belong to the class Chondrichthyes and the family Rajidae. Their genus is Dipturus, and the scientific name is Dipturus Batis. So, skates, rays, and sharks belong to the same class and are known as cartilaginous fish.

How many Skate Fish are there in the world?

The exact number is unknown, but more than 200 skate fish species exist and they are described under 27 genera. Skates are usually found in abundance in the deep bottom of ocean waters, on the sea floor. However, due to human activity, their numbers have recently decreased.

Where does a Skate Fish live?

Skates live in deep ocean waters. Different types of skate rays species are distributed around the world. For example, the big skate wing fish is found in the North-Eastern Pacific Ocean, the common skate in the Northeast Atlantic, and the Mediterranean Sea. The thorny skate species is found on the eastern and western sides of the Atlantic Ocean and the winter skate dwells in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean.

What is a Skate Fish's habitat?

Skate fish live at the bottom of the seafloor. They can be found in depths up to 9843 ft (3000 m). They are also found to dwell near the continental shelves. Although it is unknown whether they migrate in large numbers, research suggests that they swim inshore during the winters and swim back offshore during the summer. Cold and polar water environmental conditions are the most favorable conditions for skate fish.

Who do Skate Fish live with?

Skate fish live primarily on their own and some live in packs with others of their species.

How long does a Skate Fish live?

It's challenging to state the skate fish's exact longevity since they live deep on the ocean floor. However, it is estimated that the skate fish can live for up to 100 years and takes almost ten years to mature.

How do they reproduce?

The skate fish is oviparous, which means the female lays eggs to reproduce their young. The males have intromittent organs called claspers, which are used in mating, and female skates fertilize the eggs within their bodies and then release them. Skate fish females do not have periods. Females have a protected egg case known as the 'mermaid's purse'. When the eggs are fertilized, they are released onto the ocean floors with this protected egg case. Until they are mature enough to hatch, these eggs remain in the mermaid's purse for up to 15 months.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the skate fish is Critically Endangered. According to the IUCN, Critically Endangered species are those on the verge of extinction.

Skate Fish Fun Facts

What do Skate Fish look like?

Find skate fish fun facts you did not know here.

As mentioned, stingrays and skates look alike. A skate's overall body shape is quadrilateral with a pointed snout. They have wings attached to their heads to swim underwater and a tail that produces electric shocks and is poisonous. They use their pelvic fins to walk on the ocean floor. They tend to be of just one color or pattern, mostly brown.

How cute are they?

The skate fish is quite cute with its two dotted eyes and rhomboid body shape. One of the best winter skate fish facts is that they look adorable when they are babies. Have you ever seen one?

How do they communicate?

Skate fish communicate with the help of their electric organs. These electric organs produce electric shocks, which are strong enough to signal different behavioral activities.

How big is a Skate Fish?

Different species of skates have varied sizes. However, skates are on average two times smaller than stingrays. The common skate, also referred to as the blue skate, is the largest skate species. Its length is 9.4 ft (2.85 m). The smallest skates are the starry skate fish.

How fast can a Skate Fish swim?

Skates swim swiftly with a speed of 1.5-2.5 BL s−1.

How much does a Skate Fish weigh?

The common skate weighs around 117lb  (53 kg), the big skate is around 110 lb (50 kg), and the thorny skate is around 5 lb (2.3 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific male and female names for the species. The male skate species are simply known as male skate fish, and the females as female skate fish.

What would you call a baby Skate Fish?

The baby skate fish are simply known as baby skate fish or sometimes little skate fish.

What do they eat?

Skates feed on crustaceans, mollusks, cephalopods, shrimp, oyster, crab, clams, snails, small fish like monkfish, catsharks, spurdog, sand eel, and flatfish.

Are they dangerous?

Skate fish, unlike stingrays, are not dangerous to humans if handled correctly. But they do have thorns on the backside of their body and the middle of their tail, so only an expert should handle them, and they should do so with care. So, can a skate fish hurt you? Yes, but, a Skate Fish will not hurt you until you mishandle them.

Would they make a good pet?

No, skates are not suitable to keep as pets since they have potentially dangerous thorns and are large fish that require specialist handling.

Did you know...

The mermaid's purse is a protective egg case that skates leave on the ocean floors once their eggs are fertilized.

The skates species have two electric organs. However, a skates' impulse is weak and is only used for communication or reproduction, it doesn't cause harm to humans.

Their age of sexual maturity is ten years.

A skates' liver is one of the largest in the world in the animal kingdom.

A skate's wings are used as bait to catch lobsters.

Differences between Skates and Rays

Stingrays, skates, and other Chondrichthyes have many similarities and dissimilarities.

Stingrays are viviparous, which means they give birth to their young ones, whereas the skate fish species is oviparous, which means they lay eggs (as we know, on the bottom of the ocean) to reproduce.

You will find poisonous spines for self-defense in the tail of Stingrays. Skates, on the other hand, have thorns on the back of their body and in the middle of the tail.

Stingrays have plate-like teeth to catch their prey, whereas skates have tiny teeth.

Stingrays either lack fins altogether or have small dorsal fins. Skates, on the other hand, have two dorsal fins.

Rays are bigger than the skate fish species. The largest stingray, known as the Giant Manta, is around 3600 lb (1633 kg). The largest skate fish weighs around 200 lb (91 kg).

Do people eat Skate Fish?

Yes, skate fish are eaten by humans. They are popular due to their high protein content and they have a mild flavor with hard flesh. Although they are pinkish, when cooked the fish becomes an off-white color. To get the perfect taste, do not overcook the flesh, otherwise, the flesh starts separating.

So, is skate good to eat? Yes, many people love eating skate and some say they taste similar to scallops.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including codfish or fluke fish.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Skate fish coloring pages.

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