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
starry skate, prickly skate, rock
skate, Pacific starry skate.
Raja stellulata Pseudonym:Raja montereyensis
小星鰩China MainMandarin Chinese,
小星鳐China MainMandarin Chinese,
K'ak'ew'Can Br ColumSalish,
Prickly starry skateUKEnglish,Raia-do-PacíficoPortugalPortuguese,Raie du PacifiqueFranceFrench, Raya estrelladaMexicoSpanish,StillahavsrockaSwedenSwedish,StillehavsrokkeDenmarkDanish
Rhomboid disc. Anterior margin of disc (from snout
to free tip) weakly convex then concave. Posterior disc margin convex. Disc width
and length roughly equal. snout weakly pointed. Tail less than
half total length. Pelvic fins trail distinctly behind disc.
Dorsum thorny. A single distinct row of thorns
extends along centre line of back from behind the eyes to base of first dorsal
fin and beyond first dorsal to second dorsal. Large spines visible on
shoulder girdle and on edge of disc behind snout.
Dorsum has extensive patterning. Dorsum mostly light brown with
irregular scattered light and dark spots and blotches. Prominent ocelli
with dark centre within a dark outer ring. Distinct white blotch behind ocelli
may be present. A black bar sometimes present across the eyes. Dark shading may
form a subtle shadowy ring around eyes and another around on lower back from
level with ocelli to pelvic fins.
Tail with 5 or
more light rings interspersed with light brown patches (or saddles) with black
length 76cm. Size at birth 12-16cm
The starry skate can be found on rocky substrates and sandy or muddly bottoms. From
18 to 732 meters. More commonly shallower than 100 meters.
Abundance and distribution:
North Eastern Pacific Ocean. Starry
skates can be found from the Bering Sea to northern Baja California. They are
more common in California but in the last few years they have started to show up
more regularly in commercial fishing operations in British Columbia.
The starry skate's diet consists mostly of small crustaceans
(shrimp), cephalopods, and bony fishes.
skate is assessed as 'least concern' in California by the IUCN.
Total annual commercial landings data for grouped catch of ‘Skate, unspecified’
for California show that landings declined from 2000–2005. However, this catch
primarily originates from trawl fisheries, of which this species is an
insignificant component. Scientific survey samples have confirmed that the
species is only occasionally captured by trawls, but it is one of the most
common species caught in longline surveys on rocky, un-trawlable reefs. The
species may be an occasional bycatch in recreational fisheries, but fishing
pressure is not considered a significant threat to it at present. There are no
data to suggest that the species’ population has declined and it is assessed as
Least Concern, given that its habitat offers it protection from fisheries.
Barkley Sound, Vancouver Island, Canada.
There are a number of other skates inhabiting this region. The
has a vaguely similar shape but a much more acutely pointed snout and plainer
markings with smaller central ocelli. The big skate
has a straighter anterior disc margin and less protruding pelvic fins.
Reaction to divers:
Remains motionless (relying on camouflage) even when gently touched. May
eventually bolt but it is more likely to slowly swim away and resettle.
The starry skate is probably encountered by
divers on deeper rocky reefs in California. The specimen in these images was
found in BC but no other reports of starry skate sightings exist for this
region. Please contact elasmodiver if you encounter one on a dive.