Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Found on the continental slope (Ref. 9661). Oviparous (Ref. 50449). Eggs have horn-like projections on the shell (Ref. 205).
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Distribution

Range Description

Northwest and eastern Pacific: Pacific White Skate (Bathyraja spinosissima) has a patchy distribution from northern South America to off Port Waldport, Oregon, USA, and the Sea of Okhotsk (Ebert 2003, Ebert, pers. obs. 2007 Dolganov 1999, Fedorov et al. 2003).

The distribution map for the Pacific White Skate in McEachran and Notarbartolo-di-Sciara (1995) depicts the species occurring in the Galápagos Islands (apparently also followed by Ebert (2003)). This appears to be an error, and the species has not been recorded around the Galápagos Islands (J.D. McEachran pers. comm. 2007). This species was described by Beebe and Tee-Van (1941) from a location ‘sixty miles south of Cocos Islands’ (04°50′N, 87°W), and it is this record that may have been confused for the Galápagos Islands.
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Southeast Pacific: Galapagos Islands (Ref. 9261). Reported from the Sea of Okhotsk (Ref. 41724).
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North Pacific.
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Physical Description

Size

Maximum size: 1500 mm TL
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Max. size

150 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 9261))
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This is one of the deepest living skate species occurring from 800-2,906m deep on the western US coast continental slope (Ebert 2003). In the Sea of Okhotsk, the depth range is 1,250–2,025 m (Dudnik and Dolganov 1992). ROV photgraphs often show this species swimming 1–3 m off the bottom over rocky substrates (D. Ebert pers. obs. 2007).

Attains a maximum length of at least 203 cm (Dolganov and Tuponogov 1999). Like other skates, reproduction is oviparous (Ebert 2003). An egg case measured 9.2 cm length and 6.65 cm width (Ebert and Davis 2007). Size at birth is reported at ~26 cm TL (Ebert 2003).

Systems
  • Marine
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Environment

bathydemersal; marine; depth range 800 - 2938 m (Ref. 50610)
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Depth range based on 36 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 36 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 1400 - 2743.76
  Temperature range (°C): 1.763 - 3.310
  Nitrate (umol/L): 39.898 - 42.507
  Salinity (PPS): 34.600 - 34.641
  Oxygen (ml/l): 1.517 - 2.352
  Phosphate (umol/l): 2.903 - 3.033
  Silicate (umol/l): 126.632 - 181.171

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 1400 - 2743.76

Temperature range (°C): 1.763 - 3.310

Nitrate (umol/L): 39.898 - 42.507

Salinity (PPS): 34.600 - 34.641

Oxygen (ml/l): 1.517 - 2.352

Phosphate (umol/l): 2.903 - 3.033

Silicate (umol/l): 126.632 - 181.171
 
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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Oviparous, paired eggs are laid. Embryos feed solely on yolk (Ref. 50449). Eggs have horn-like projections on the shell (Ref. 205).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Bathyraja spinosissima

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2009

Assessor/s
Ebert, D.A. & Orlov, A.

Reviewer/s
Valenti, S.V., Kyne, P.M. & Kulka, D.W. (Shark Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
Pacific White Skate (Bathyraja spinosissima) is a large, rarely encountered deepwater skate, known only from a few scattered specimens caught in trawl and longline surveys in the eastern Pacific and Sea of Okhotsk, northwest Pacific. It is one of the deepest living skate species, occurring to nearly 3,000 m depth, beyond the range of most trawl operations. ROV footage off of central California suggests that this species lives on rocky substrate, which also precludes it being caught by trawl fisheries. Given that this species’ deep habitat is mostly outside the range of current fisheries, the rocky substrate on which it is found is unsuitable for trawling and no population declines have been observed, it is assessed as Least Concern. The designation of the Davidson Seamount as a Marine Protected Area will also offer this species protection in the future. However, any fisheries extending further into its range should be monitored, as any bycatch may be of concern due to the large body size and likely intrinsic vulnerability of this species to population depletion.
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Population

Population
In the waters of the western coast on the USA, Pacific White Skate is known mostly from photographs from ROV surveys and perhaps only about 4–6 specimens have been captured (Ebert pers. obs. 2007). In the Sea of Okhotsk, this species appears to be uncommon according to bottom trawl survey data. It was caught in 2.3% of 257 hauls in a deepwater survey in 1999 in a depth range down to 2,000 m (Dudnik and Dolganov 1992).

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
Pacific White Skate is known only from a few scattered records throughout its range occurring to nearly 3,000 m which is beyond the depth range of most trawl operations. Videotape footage of this species from 1,875 m deep off central California suggest that it lives on rocky substrate that also precludes its being caught by trawl fishing operations (D. Ebert pers obs. 2007).
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Least Concern (LC)
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The Davidson Seamount, located 75 km off the central Californian Coast (within the known range of this species) has been proposed as a Marine Protected area (D. Ebert pers. obs. 2007).

At present, the species occurs mainly beyond the depth of fishing operations on rocky untrawlable substrate. It is unlikely then, that deep bottom trawl fisheries will develop in the area, however the situation should be monitored. Like other large deepwater skates, this species is probably intrinsically vulnerable to population depletion and therefore any bycatch would be of concern. Further specimens are required for research on the species’ biology and life-history characteristics.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: of no interest
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Wikipedia

Pacific white skate

"White skate" may also refer to Rostroraja alba.

The Pacific white skate (Bathyraja spinosissima) is a species of skate, family Rajidae. It is one of the deepest-living of all skates, occurring at a depth of 800 to 2,938 m on the continental slope. It is native to the southeast Pacific Ocean from the Galapagos Islands to off Waldport, Oregon; an egg case and embryo has been collected from the Farallon Islands off San Francisco. Reports of it from the Sea of Okhotsk may represent a different species. Its species name, spinosissima, comes from the Latin spinosus meaning "thorny", referring to its covering of dermal denticles.[1]

The flattened pectoral fin disc of the Pacific white skate is slightly wider than long, with broadly rounded tips. The disc is covered with numerous small denticles above and below, giving it a shagreen-like texture. Adult males possess alar spines (on the dorsal surface of the pectoral fins near the tips). The tail is slightly longer than the disc, bearing a single median row of 23-29 thorns and two similar-sized dorsal fins near the end without an interdorsal thorn. The caudal fin is long and taperine, with a filamentous fold on its upper surface. Its teeth number 34 in the upper jaw and 23 in the lower. This species is a uniform pale to salty gray above and below, with dusky outer disc margins.[1]

The Pacific white skate feeds on benthic fishes. Like other skates they are oviparous; the egg cases are olive green in color and longitudinally striated, with horn-like projections on the shell. The size at birth is about 25 cm; the maximum known size is 1.5 m. They are of no commercial interest but are occasionally taken as by-catch.[1][2]

References

  1. ^ a b c Ebert, D.A. (2003). Sharks, Rays, and Chimaeras of California. London: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-23484-7. 
  2. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2008). "Bathyraja spinosissimus" in FishBase. November 2008 version.
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