We’ll admit it that we often struggle writing posts about skates because we weren’t as familiar with them as the other critters presented in The Fins Untied Initiative. In 2016, we are actively promoting these lesser known animals to not only teach you but ourselves!
We briefly touched on skates a while back, so you may want to refresh yourself on these flattened creatures here.
All done? Right. On with it!
The first skate Melissa came across in her copy of “The Fishes of New Zealand” (Volume 2) was Arhynchobatis asperrimus, the longtail skate.
The reason it’s known as the longtail skate is because its tail is - surprise, surprise- extremely long and slender. (Sometimes scientists get creative with their common names… other times, not so much) Their body, also known as a “disc,” is rounded and then tapers off at the snout area into a point. They are uniformly brown, with their underside being smooth and creamy white in colour.
The longtail skate genus is monotypic, with a single dorsal fin and prickly skin distinguishing it from other skates in the Australasian region. They are endemic to that part, widespread on the deep continental shelf and slope around New Zealand. They are found at depths of 70-1,095 metres, but most abundant at depths around 200-500 metres.
Their maximum size is 730 mm and was once considered rare. However, bottom trawler fisheries on the upper continental slope often catch this species.
Their IUCN assessment is currently Data Deficient (DD).
what are your thoughts on this skate?
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TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
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