Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Found from saltwater parts of estuaries and bays of 330 m (Ref. 26938). Inhabit inshore areas. Prefer waters of 10°-21°C. Feed mainly on decapod crustaceans, bivalves, polychaetes, squids and fishes (Ref. 3824). Breed while inshore (Ref. 6902). Oviparous. Distinct pairing with embrace. Young may tend to follow large objects, such as their mother (Ref. 205). Eggs are oblong capsules with stiff pointed horns at the corners deposited in sandy or muddy flats (Ref. 205). Egg capsules are 5.1-8.9 cm long and 3.8-5.7 cm wide (Ref. 41249, 41307, 41301, 41358).
  • McEachran, J.D. and K.A. Dunn 1998 Phylogenetic analysis of skates, a morphologically conservative clade of elasmobranchs (Chondrichthyes: Rajidae). Copeia 1998(2):271-290. (Ref. 27314)
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Distribution

Range Description

Northwest and western central Atlantic: found from Massachusetts to southern Florida and eastern and northern Gulf of Mexico. However, this species is rarely captured north of Cape Cod (Packer et al. 2003).
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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Massachusetts to Florida and Gulf of Mexico; Gulf of Maine records from Collette and Klein-MacPhee (2002)
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Western Atlantic: Massachusetts to southern Florida (USA) and eastern Gulf of Mexico. Also northern Gulf of Mexico (Ref. 26938).
  • Robins, C.R. and G.C. Ray 1986 A field guide to Atlantic coast fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, U.S.A. 354 p. (Ref. 7251)
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Western Atlantic.
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Western Atlantic: Massachusetts Bay to both coasts of Florida.
  • Bigelow, H.B. and W.C. Schroeder, 1953; McEachran, J.D. and K.A. Dunn, 1998 ; Smith, C.L., 1997; Stehmann, M. and J.D. McEachran, 1978.
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Physical Description

Size

Max. size

84.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 1125))
  • Fitz, E. and F. Daiber 1963 An introduction to the biology of Raja eglanteria Bosc 1802 and Raja erinacea Mitchell 1825 as they occur in Delaware Bay. Bull. Bingham Ocean Coll. 18(3):69-97. (Ref. 1125)
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Maximum size: 620 mm WD
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to 65.0 cm NG.
  • Bigelow, H.B. and W.C. Schroeder, 1953; McEachran, J.D. and K.A. Dunn, 1998 ; Smith, C.L., 1997; Stehmann, M. and J.D. McEachran, 1978.
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Diagnostic Description

Small skate, with irregular darker spots and bars on dorsal surface. Translucent area on each side of mid-dorsal ridge on snout (Ref. 26938). Single row of thorns along the midridge of the back (Ref. 6902). Disk with dark brown bars and streaks and some spots. Front edges nearly straight or slightly concave (Ref. 7251).
  • Smith, C.L. 1997 National Audubon Society field guide to tropical marine fishes of the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, Florida, the Bahamas, and Bermuda. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York. 720 p. (Ref. 26938)
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This skate prefers inshore areas and is found from saltwater estuaries to depths of 330 m. However, it is most abundant at depths <111 m (Packer et al. 2003). This species prefers inshore areas of 10–21°C and feeds mainly on decapod crustaceans, bivalves, polychaetes, squids and fishes. It breeds inshore, and reproduction is oviparous, like other skates, with oblong egg capsules deposited in sandy or muddy flats.

Both males and females are reported to mature at 49–58 cm total length (TL) (Fitz and Diaber 1963). Females are reported to mature at four to six years of age, and males at two to four years (Fitz and Diaber 1963). Longevity is >5 years (Fitz and Diaber 1963). The species reaches a maximum size of 84 cm TL (Fitz and Diaber 1963) and size at birth is 12–15 cm (Luer pers comm.).

Systems
  • Marine
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Environment

demersal; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); brackish; marine; depth range 0 - 330 m (Ref. 92298), usually 0 - 50 m (Ref. 55280)
  • Florida Museum of Natural History 2005 Biological profiles: clearnose skate. Retrieved on 26 August 2005, from www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Gallery/Descript/ClearnoseSkate/ClearnoseSkate.html. Ichthyology at the Florida Museum of Natural History: Education-Biological Profiles. FLMNH, University of Florida. (Ref. 55280)
  • IUCN 2012 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.. Downloaded in November 2012. (Ref. 92298)
  • Riede, K. 2004 Global register of migratory species - from global to regional scales. Final Report of the R&D-Projekt 808 05 081. Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, Bonn, Germany. 329 p. (Ref. 51243)
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Habitat Type: Marine

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benthic
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Found from saltwater parts of estuaries and bays of 330 m.
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Depth range based on 2559 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 1308 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 382
  Temperature range (°C): 4.905 - 25.874
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.289 - 22.184
  Salinity (PPS): 32.507 - 36.495
  Oxygen (ml/l): 3.466 - 6.744
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.093 - 1.500
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.756 - 17.288

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 382

Temperature range (°C): 4.905 - 25.874

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.289 - 22.184

Salinity (PPS): 32.507 - 36.495

Oxygen (ml/l): 3.466 - 6.744

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.093 - 1.500

Silicate (umol/l): 0.756 - 17.288
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Demersal; brackish; marine. Inshore and saltwater parts of estuaries and bays. Commonly in water temperatures of 10°- 21°C.
  • Bigelow, H.B. and W.C. Schroeder, 1953; McEachran, J.D. and K.A. Dunn, 1998 ; Smith, C.L., 1997; Stehmann, M. and J.D. McEachran, 1978.
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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Oceanodromous. Migrating within oceans typically between spawning and different feeding areas, as tunas do. Migrations should be cyclical and predictable and cover more than 100 km.
  • Riede, K. 2004 Global register of migratory species - from global to regional scales. Final Report of the R&D-Projekt 808 05 081. Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, Bonn, Germany. 329 p. (Ref. 51243)
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Trophic Strategy

Inhabits inshore areas. Prefers waters of 10°-21°C. Feeds mainly on decapod crustaceans, bivalves, polychaetes, squids and fishes.
  • McEachran, J.D. and K.A. Dunn 1998 Phylogenetic analysis of skates, a morphologically conservative clade of elasmobranchs (Chondrichthyes: Rajidae). Copeia 1998(2):271-290. (Ref. 27314)
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Decapod crustaceans, bivalves, polychaetes, squids and fishes.
  • Bigelow, H.B. and W.C. Schroeder, 1953; McEachran, J.D. and K.A. Dunn, 1998 ; Smith, C.L., 1997; Stehmann, M. and J.D. McEachran, 1978.
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Diseases and Parasites

Empruthotrema Infestation. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
  • Hargis, W.J. 1955 Monogenetic trematodes of Gulf of Mexico fishes. Part V. The superfamily Capsaloidea. Trans. Am. Micro. Soc. 74(3):203-225. (Ref. 46261)
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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Diet

Feed mainly on decapod crustaceans, bivalves, polychaetes, squids and fishes
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Life Cycle

Oviparous, paired eggs are laid. Embryos feed solely on yolk (Ref. 50449). Distinct pairing with embrace. Young may tend to follow large objects, such as their mother (Ref. 205).From the work of Libby and Gilbert (1960) (Ref. 51117) and Luer and Gilbert (1985) (Ref. 38742) male and female clearnose skates mate side by side in an upright position (Ref. 49562). Actual copulation occurs when the male bites the caudal margin of the female's pectoral, bends his tail 75 degrees beneath hers and inserts one clasper, flexed ('splayed') medially 90 degrees, into her oviduct (Ref. 49562). A female displays 'back arching' and 'pectoral fin undulations' as precopulatory behavior to attract males (Ref. 49562).
  • Breder, C.M. and D.E. Rosen 1966 Modes of reproduction in fishes. T.F.H. Publications, Neptune City, New Jersey. 941 p. (Ref. 205)
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Reproduction

Unknown
  • Bigelow, H.B. and W.C. Schroeder, 1953; McEachran, J.D. and K.A. Dunn, 1998 ; Smith, C.L., 1997; Stehmann, M. and J.D. McEachran, 1978.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Raja eglanteria

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
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
Ha, D., Luer, C. & Sulikowski, J.

Reviewer/s
Dulvy, N.K. & Valenti, S.V. (Shark Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
This skate is endemic to the Northwest and Western Central Atlantic, occurring from Massachusetts to southern Florida and in the eastern and northern Gulf of Mexico. It is found primarily found in inshore areas (at <111 m depth), but ranges from saltwater estuaries to depths of 330 m. The primary threat to this species is capture as bycatch of otter trawls during groundfish trawling and scallop dredge operations. Age data for this species are old, but suggest that females mature at 4–6 years (the three generation period for this species may therefore be ~18 years). National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) trawl surveys indicate that biomass of this species has steadily decreased over the last five years. Analysis of trends in abundance of this species in six different scientific surveys on the eastern coast of the USA (during various periods from 1966–2005), found it to be increasing in three surveys, decreasing in one, with no apparent trend in two others. The NMFS does not consider this species overfished in its 2006 assessment and, given that the overall population trend does not appear to be declining this species is assessed as Least Concern. However, the declines observed in some areas, coupled with the species’ potentially limiting life-history characteristics suggests that population trends should be carefully monitored. Further research on this species’ life-history and population structure is also required.
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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Population

Population
No detailed information on population size or subpopulations exists, however, maximum size and size at maturity varies with latitude, the largest individuals occur at highest latitudes (McEachran 2002).The biomass of this species has steadily decreased over the last five years, over its reported range (NEFMC 2006). Average catch rates of this species during NMFS trawl surveys decreased from 0.75 kg/tow in 2002–2004 to 0.63 kg/tow in 2003–2005 (NEFMC 2006). Although the NMFS does not consider this species overfished in its 2006 assessment, the steady decline in biomass during the past five years, coupled with the species’ potentially limiting life-history characteristics suggests that population trends should be carefully monitored. The 2006 NMFS assessment made no projections or forecasts of expected future population trends, and fishing pressure is continuing. Myers et al. (2007) examined trends in abundance for this species along the eastern coast of the USA, from six different surveys and found it to be increasing in three surveys during 1984–2004, 1967–2005, and 1974–2005 (statistically significant, <0.0001), decreasing in one survey during 1966–2004 (statistically significant, <0.0001), with no apparent trend in two others during 1989–2005 and 1988–2004.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
The principal commercial fishing method that affects this species of skate (or any other skate species for that matter) is otter trawling. Although no directed fishery exists for this species, this skate is frequently taken as bycatch during groundfish trawling and scallop dredge operations (Packer et al. 2003). However, the quantitative impacts of this fishing method on this species is unknown at this time. Discarded recreational and foreign landings are currently insignificant, at <1% of the total fishery landings (Packer et al. 2003). In the past, imprecise reporting of fishery statistics combined skate species under one category. This has made assessment and monitoring of directed and indirect fishing pressure impossible. However, this has recently changed and should allow for the assessment of individual species and the impacts of commercial fishing practices on their populations.
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Least Concern (LC)
  • IUCN 2006 2006 IUCN red list of threatened species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded July 2006.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
None in place.

Recommended: Biological data for this species is over 50 years old. Before any further recommendation can be made, more life history studies (including age, growth, maturity, and fecundity studies) are necessary. Studies of stock structure are also needed to identify unit stocks.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: minor commercial; bait: occasionally; price category: medium; price reliability: questionable: based on ex-vessel price for species in this genus
  • Stehmann, M. and J.D. McEachran 1978 Rajidae. In W. Fischer (ed.) FAO Species Identification Sheets for Fishery Purposes. West Atlantic (Fishing Area 31). volume 5. [pag. var.]. FAO, Rome. (Ref. 3824)
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Wikipedia

Clearnose skate

The clearnose skate, Raja eglanteria, is a type of skate native to the entire state of Florida where it resides in brackish and salt waters. Its range extends north to Massachusetts, and may even be found as far north as Canada.[2] The water in which this skate lives is usually shallow,but this species frequents fairly deep water also. The seafloor is this skates territory and is usually composed of sand and soft sediment. The average size for this ray species is from 1.5–3 feet (0.46–0.91 m). Its normal foods are crustaceans and mollusks, such as sand fleas and fiddler crabs. These skates are commonly used for human consumption in some locales, although to many fisherman they are just a pest.

References[edit]

  1. ^ D. Ha, C. Luer & J. Sulikowski (2009). "Raja eglanteria". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 14 March 2012. 
  2. ^ "FLMNH Ichthyology Department: Clearnose Skate". Florida Museum of Natural History. Archived from the original on 14 March 2012. 


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