It’s the month of love and we’re all about dishing it out here at The Fins United Initiative, especially for those Chondrichthyans who usually get looked over like the skates. The blue skate, Notoraja azurea, is a small, brilliantly coloured sapphire skate.
Reaching a maximum of 65 cm in length, they mature at around 53 cm. The disc is circular in shape for females and juveniles, while it has a more heart-shape for mature males. The juveniles tend to be covered in rough denticles, which becomes smoother as the skate ages. The blue skates are characteristically blue in colour with some pale of black spots scattered across its dorsal side and they have a long tail adorned with prominent thorns. Instead of a creamy underbelly, they are dark brown ventrally. This colour becomes paler around the gill slits and their mouth.
Found in the temperate waters off Australia, they are seen from Western Australia to New South Wales including waters around Tasmania. The diet and reproduction methods of these skates is unknown, as if their overall population status. However, they are listed as Least Concern (LC) by the IUCN.
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TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
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