Kingdom Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Superorder: Batoidea(Rays)
Order: Rajiformes
Family: Rajidae
Family: Anacanthobatidae

Like sharks, but flatter. Skates look like birds and swim as if they were flying, having two enlarged fins on either side. They look somewhat like a kite, with their diamond-shaped body and long, thin tail. Or a cross between a butterfly and a squid, fluttering oozily through the ocean shallows. Their two large 'wings' are technically enlarged pectoral fins, and merge so smoothly into the body that skates appear to be nothing more than a set of living wings. They are bottom dwellers, and have their eyes on the top of their heads like a flounder.

Skates are cartilaginous fish, and are closely related to sharks. They are a type of rays, and the families of skates include more than 200 different species. Some species can get to be up to 4 feet long and weigh up to 100 pounds. Most are smaller, and most are harmless. They are bottom dwellers, and eat other bottom dwellers such as sea squirts, snails, crabs and clams. Not humans, tho. Skates are often colored to blend in with the ocean floor (and are countershaded with light wavy markings on their bottoms to look like the surface of the ocean from below), and are often hard to spot.

The mermaids' purses you find washed up on the beaches are the skates' egg sacks.

Skate (?), n. [D. schaats. Cf. Scatches.]

A metallic runner with a frame shaped to fit the sole of a shoe, -- made to be fastened under the foot, and used for moving rapidly on ice.

Batavia rushes forth; and as they sweep, On sounding skates, a thousand different ways, In circling poise, swift as the winds, along, The then gay land is maddended all to joy. Thomson.

Roller skate. See under Roller.


© Webster 1913.

Skate, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Skated; p. pr. & vb. n. Skating.]

To move on skates.


© Webster 1913.

Skate, n. [Icel. skata; cf. Prov. G. schatten, meer-schatten, L. squatus, squatina, and E. shad.] Zool.

Any one of numerous species of large, flat elasmobranch fishes of the genus Raia, having a long, slender tail, terminated by a small caudal fin. The pectoral fins, which are large and broad and united to the sides of the body and head, give a somewhat rhombic form to these fishes. The skin is more or less spinose.

⇒ Some of the species are used for food, as the European blue or gray skate (Raia batis), which sometimes weighs nearly 200 pounds. The American smooth, or barn-door, skate (R. laevis) is also a large species, often becoming three or four feet across. The common spiny skate (R. erinacea) is much smaller.

Skate's egg. See Sea purse. -- Skate sucker, any marine leech of the genus Pontobdella, parasitic on skates.


© Webster 1913.

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