The clearnose skate is flat and shaped like a rhombus, with a pointed snout, two pectoral fins and a tail ending in two small dorsal fins. Its topside is brown with dark spots and bars, while its underside is white with no markings. The clearnose skate gets its name from its translucent snout. The mouth, located on the skate's underside, is lined with close-set teeth.
A Note From the Caretaker
Clearnose skates lay fertilized eggs. Their egg cases look like rectangular, black leathery pouches with horns extending from each corner. These egg cases are sometimes called "mermaid's purses."
Learn more about the clearnose skate! Did you know that, unlike a stingray, the clearnose skate does not have stinging spines? Instead, a single row of blunt thorns runs down the center of the skate's back to the tip of its tail.
The clearnose skate is found in the Atlantic from Massachusetts to south Florida and along the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico. It is commonly found close to shore but may travel offshore in colder months and migrate south during fall and winter.
This skate's diet consists of shrimp, mollusks, crustaceans and small fish.
When fully grown, the clearnose skate reaches about 18 inches wide and 33 inches long.
The clearnose skate is considered a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Its predators include sharks and other large, carnivorous fish. Humans are also a threat to clearnose skates; they are typically caught as bycatch.
Meet the Expert Jay Bradley
As curator of Blue Wonders: Reefs to Rainforests, Jay Bradley oversees the care of all animals in Blacktip Reef, Living Seashore, Shark Alley and more.
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The National Aquarium—and the aquatic world—is full of amazing animals like this one.