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Skates are cartilaginous fishes belonging to the family Rajidae in the superorder Batoidea of rays. They are carnivorous, feeding mostly on smaller fish and crustaceans. They have flat pectoral fins continuous with their head, two dorsal fins and a short, spineless tail.

 


They are benthic (bottom-dwelling) and are found throughout the world from continental shelves down to the abyssal zone. They are oviparous fishes, laying eggs in a horny case known as a mermaid's purse. It is thought that egg-laying in skates is an evolutionary reversal, that is, skates are descended from ovoviviparous ancestors.

The common skate, Dipturus batis, is the largest found in British waters. It has a long, pointed snout. However, the most common skate in British seas is the thornback ray, Raja clavata. They are frequently caught by trawling.

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 Kingdom: Animalia

 Phylum: Chordata

 Class:  Chondrichthyes

 Subclass: Elasmobranchii

 Superorder: Batoidea

 Order: Rajiformes

 Family:  Rajidae