The western looseskin skate (Insentiraja subtilispinosa), also known as the velvet skate, is a cartilaginous fish that can be observed on the continental slopes in the east-Indo-west-central Pacific ocean (think Indonesia, Philippines, and Australia region).
I have always been fascinated with sharks. My interest stemmed from their mysterious and remarkable life histories, which have in many ways remained unchanged for millennia. It was when I had the amazing opportunity to dive with sharks, witnessing them in their natural environment, that I developed a true appreciation for them. Since then I have had a passion to aid and support their protection and conservation.
There are estimated to be around 500 species of shark globally, ranging from the slow moving Greenland shark, to the planktivorous whale shark, to the exceptionally fast short fin mako. Sharks are ecologically and economically important, playing an essential role within marine ecosystems. As apex predators, sharks form vital elements of marine food chains, as well as being significant indicators of ocean health. Research carried out on this topic, has found that the loss of sharks within an ecosystem can be hugely detrimental, leading to the decline of coral reefs, seagrass beds and commercial fisheries (Friedrich, Jefferson and Glegg, 2014).
The common name may have you wondering if we are going to the middle of nowhere to look at animals in a barn... no worries, friends, we are still in the ocean. Specifically in the northwestern part of the Atlantic Ocean where we will see the barndoor skate, Dipturus laevis.
TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
SEE MELISSA'S TEDx TALK HERE:
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