The Melbourne skate (Spiniraja whitleyi) is a large skate with a quadrangular disc and a broad snout. It has a dorsal surface that is greyish in colour, sprinkled with irregular white flecks.
This grey color mixes in with a pinkish colour on the edges of the disc (especially on the snout) as we go from the dorsal side of this skate to the ventral side, which is creamy in colour. Juveniles can be told apart from adults in that juveniles tend to have a large dark spot on each side of their disc. Their tail has a few rows of thorns on them, and males have elongated claspers.
Melbourne skates can reach up to 200 cm in length, with males maturing at about 127 cm. Female maturity size is still unknown. Both juveniles and adults can be seen around the continental shelf between New South Wales and Western Australia, including Tasmania, up to 345 m deep! They are benthic animals, and their diet includes teleost fishes, cephalopods (mainly octopus) and crabs. Skates are oviparous; TFUI officials have not been able to gather examples of these egg cases to show to you for ID purposes. The IUCN has assessed this species as Vulnerable (VU).
ever heard of this skate?
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