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ROUNDEL SKATE
Raja texana


 
Identification
Very similar in shape to the clearnose skate, but has two large dark spots outlined with lighter margins on each pectoral fin. Pointed snout with translucent patches on either side. Diamond shaped, angular disc with front edges nearly straight or slightly concave. Single mid-dorsal ridge of large spines/denticles. Dorsal surface brownish and whitish ventrally. Well-developed caudal fin. Dorsal fins present and located on tail.

Habitat and Behavior
Demersal species occurring in marine and nearshore coastal waters but has been found in depths of 590 feet. Young are often found in shallow bays and adults occupy offshore areas.

Feeding
Benthic feeder. Feeds mainly on shrimp, benthic crustaceans, and fishes.

Reproduction
Oviparous; females deposit leathery light-brown translucent egg cases. Empty egg cases are often found washed up on coastal beaches; commonly called 'mermaids purses'.

Size
Max total length ~21 inches; ~ 12” wing span.

Human Factors
Non-aggressive species of no danger to humans. Skates do not possess a venomous spine; although, they have multiple thorn-like spines along their tail which could cause injury if handled.