Not just a
huge collection of
Elasmodiver.com contains images of sharks, skates, rays, and a few
chimaera's from around the world. Elasmodiver began as a simple web
to help divers find the best places to encounter the different
species of sharks and rays that live in shallow water but it has
slowly evolved into a much larger project containing information on
all aspects of shark diving and shark photography.
now more than 10,000 shark pictures and sections on shark
evolution, biology, and conservation. There is a large library of
reviewed shark books, a constantly updated shark taxonomy page, a
monster list of shark links, and deeper in the site there are
numerous articles and stories about shark encounters. Elasmodiver is
now so difficult to check for updates, that new information and
pictures are listed on an Elasmodiver Updates Page that can be
Disc width considerably greater than disc length.
Tail shorter than disc. Anterior edges of pectoral fins concave with indistinct
convexity level with head. Posterior edges of pectoral fins broadly convex.
Snout pointed. Dorsum light brown with darker,
evenly scattered, round spots. One dark ocelli ringed with yellowish tan may be
visible on each wing. Spots occasionally less uniform and ringed with pale lines
that form a reticulated pattern over the entire disc.
paired, converging lines of reddish brown rostral cartilage on snout. No line of
thorns (enlarged dermal denticles) along midline of back. Three rows of thorns
on tail. Ventrum off white fading to lavender/grey at margins.
The barndoor skate inhabits sandy, gravel and mud bottoms
from inshore to 430m but there are records from as deep as 1600m.
Abundance and distribution: North
western Atlantic Ocean from the Grand Banks and St Lawrence River in
Canada to North Carolina. Catch records from the Labrador shelf indicate that
the barndoor's range may be considerably larger than previously thought.
Bivalves, squids, lobsters, shrimps, worms and benthic fishes.
Oviparous. egg cases deposited on sand and mud flats.
A captive female
barndoor skate at the Montreal Biodome laid 115 egg cases in 2007. Hatching
occurred throughout the year. Incubation took between 342 and 494 days. The
emerging skates averaged 193 mm in length (128 mm disk width) and weighed 32 g.
Vulnerability: The barndoor
skate is considered endangered by the IUCN. Although this species is not the
focus of a directed fishery it is regularly caught in trawling/dredging operations
targeting deep sea fishes, scallops and squid among other species. Catch rates in US waters declined
by a staggering 96 to 99% between 1960 and 1990.
NOAA catch data
suggests that the species is now recovering and is no longer over fished. It
remains vulnerable to depletion if managed incorrectly.
Kings Beach, Rhode Island. Specimen released from
bycatch collected while trawling for squid. Images were made possible through
the kind cooperation of Brian Raymond.
There are a number of other skates inhabiting this region. Identification in the
field is easiest by noting the barndoor skate's unique body shape (smoothly
concave leading edges of the disc which is wider than long) combined with its
pattern of dark evenly spaced black spots. Note however that the barndoor's
markings can be variable as illustrated by the image below:
Image courtesy of
Reaction to divers:
Swims away when closely approached.
The barndoor skate generally inhabits depths
exceeding normal diving limits. On rare occasions this skate has been seen at
dive sites in Eastern Canada. There is also an unconfirmed report of a barndoor
showing up at Back Beach near Rockport, Cape Anne, Massachusetts.