Fun Skate Fish Facts For Kids

Christian Mba
Jan 19, 2023 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Shray Sharma
Fun Skate Fish Facts For Kids

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 FactsWhat type of animal is a skate fish?

Skate (order Rajiformes), are any of numerous flat-bodied cartilaginous fishes constituting the order Rajiformes. Skate fish are flat-bodied fish with cartilage instead of bones that belong to the Rajidae family.

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 their scientific name is Dipturus batis.

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 17 genera. Skates are usually found in abundance in the deep bottom of ocean waters, on the seafloor. However, due to human activity, their numbers have decreased drastically making some of them Critically Endangered in the conservation list.

Where does a skate fish live?

Skates are deep ocean waters water dwellers. Skate rays are spread out around the world.

the The big skate wing fish is found in the North-Eastern Pacific Ocean. Northeast Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea are home to the common skates (scientific name: Dipturus batis). The thorny skate species are 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?

Skates 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?

Skates 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 up to 100 years.

How do they reproduce?

The skate fish is oviparous, which means the female lays eggs to reproduce their young. The males of the species 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 female species 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 common skate fish is Critically Endangered, which means they are 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. 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 half the size of stingrays. The common skate also referred to as the blue skate, is the largest skate species. Its length reaches about 9.2 ft (2.8 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 (1.5-2.5 body lengths per second). One body length per second for humans is approximately 4 mph (6.4 kph) which would be 100 body lengths per second for a small insect. A human traveling at 100 body lengths per second would be going 20,000 mph (32,187 kph)!

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 and 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 skate's 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.

The skate fish's liver is almost 25% of its body mass, one of the largest in the animal kingdom. Comparatively, the human liver accounts for only 2% of the body mass.

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 are oviparous, which means they lay eggs (as we know, on the bottom of the ocean) to reproduce.

You will find venomous spines for self-defense in the tail of Stingrays. Skates, on the other hand, have non-venomous 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 butterflyfish coloring pages.

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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

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Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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Fact-checked by Shray Sharma

Bachelor of Technology specializing in Computer Science Engineering

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Shray SharmaBachelor of Technology specializing in Computer Science Engineering

As an aspiring web and app developer, Shray has a passion for working with promising startups. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Maharaja Surajmal Institute Of Technology while gaining experience in digital marketing. Shray has already earned a Google Analytics Certification and is well-equipped to handle analytics and data management tasks. He has also served as a marketing manager at Parallax Virtual Arts, where he oversaw the company's social media, content, and SEO strategies. Shray's goal is to create engaging content that resonates with audiences and offers valuable insights.

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