COSEWIC Status Reports

COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Winter Skate Leucoraja ocellata, Gulf of St. Lawrence population, Eastern Scotian Shelf - Newfoundland population and Western Scotian Shelf - Georges Bank population in Canada

Winter Skate (Leucoraja ocellata Mitchill 1815), also known as the big or eyed skate, can be distinguished from other skate species, with the exception of a co-occurring species, Little Skate (Leucoraja erinacea), by its very round and obtuse snout bearing two opaque patches of cartilage, the presence of three or more rows of thorns on its tail and upper body (disc) from the shoulder region to the origin of the first dorsal fin, round dark spots on its upper disc, and generally one or more eye spots near the rear corner of each pectoral fin. Specimens that lack these spots resemble Little Skate so closely when small (<35 cm) that they cannot be distinguished visually. Winter Skate have more tooth rows in the upper jaw (but the numbers vary with size) and more spines (usually >21) on the midline of the tail than do Little Skate.

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Contact Person(s)

COSEWIC Secretariat
c/o Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment Canada
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0H3
Tel: 819-938-4125
Fax: 819-938-3984
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