Not just a
huge collection of
Elasmodiver.com contains images of sharks, skates, rays, and a few
chimaera's from around the world. Elasmodiver began as a simple web
to help divers find the best places to encounter the different
species of sharks and rays that live in shallow water but it has
slowly evolved into a much larger project containing information on
all aspects of shark diving and shark photography.
now more than 10,000 shark pictures and sections on shark
evolution, biology, and conservation. There is a large library of
reviewed shark books, a constantly updated shark taxonomy page, a
monster list of shark links, and deeper in the site there are
numerous articles and stories about shark encounters. Elasmodiver is
now so difficult to check for updates, that new information and
pictures are listed on an Elasmodiver Updates Page that can be
Malacoraja senta Synonyms: Raja senta.
Other Names:Gladde rog Netherlands Dutch, Raie lisse Can
Quebec French, Raie lissée France French, Vatos neted Romania Rumanian.
Disc heart shaped. Disc width
and length roughly equal. snout pointed. Rostral cartilage very thin. Tail about
half total length. Dorsum mostly smooth. A single distinct row of thorns extends
along centre line of back and tail. Tail thorns diminish in adults and are
virtually invisible in older male specimens. Thorns also on centre-line of
snout, around eyes, and a small cluster on each side of mid line behind head and
on the anterior margin of the disc close to the rostral cartilage. Dorsum light brown to grey with
irregular scattered dark blotches. Dark ringed white blotch midway along centre
line of back. One or two dark edged white bands along tail. White blotches and
bands fade in adulthood. Ventrum pale with a few indistinct pale spots.
The smooth skate can be found on soft mud and clay bottoms as well as sandy,
broken shell and gravel substrates. From 25 to 1436 meters but
usually found between 70 and 480 meters. Tolerates moderately low salinity
environments in the Gulf of St Lawrence.
tend to be found at deeper depths.
Abundance and distribution:
skates inhabit a relatively small area in the western North Atlantic Ocean from
Newfoundland to New Jersey. They are found in the inshore waters of the St
Lawrence river estuary to deep offshore banks but they do not occur evenly
throughout that range and are probably confined to a handful of deep troughs
separated by shallower banks.
Channel in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, southwest Grand Bank, Flemish Cap,
northeast Newfoundland Shelf and the Labrador Shelf have all been identified as
containing sub populations of smooth skates.
Smooth skates have an extremely rigid diet of mostly small crustaceans.
Large adults occasionally consume small benthic fishes. The diet of smooth
skates may be a contributing factor in their narrow range.
Oviparous. Smooth skate egg capsules are deposited on sand and mud bottoms.
Egg cases range in size from 5 to 5.9 cm in length. They are rectangular in shape with
hardened pointed corners. Studies of mature collected specimens indicate that
smooth skates may be sexually active throughout the year.
Females mature at
4154 cm total length (TL) and between 89.5 years of age, and males mature at
4957 cm TL and between 8 and 10 years of age.
skate is assessed 'endangered' in Canadian waters and 'near threatened' in US
waters by the IUCN. Although this species is not the
focus of a directed fishery it is caught in trawling/dredging operations
targeting other benthic fishes and invertebrates. Surveys indicate that the
abundance of the smooth skate has declined by 73% to 91% (depending on the
region) over a 29 year period.
reduction in ground fishing efforts and although smooth skates are a 'no take'
species, biomass of the two main sub-populations in Canadian waters have not
recovered at all in the last two decades.
sub-populations are also very close to being classed as over fished.
Kings Beach, Rhode Island. Specimen released from
bycatch collected while trawling for squid. Images were made possible through
the cooperation of Brian Raymond.
There are a number of other skates inhabiting this region. The barndoor skate
has a vaguely similar shape but a much more acutely pointed snout. Winter and
little skates have blunter snouts and smaller spots.
Reaction to divers:
Swims away and resettles when closely approached.
The smooth skate generally inhabits depths
exceeding normal diving limits.