Meet the new Big [Little] Skates at Birch Aquarium
Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego is celebrating the arrival of some ravioli-sized newborn Big Skates. For now, the babies will be raised in the nursery habitat in the Hall of Fishes as well as behind the scenes. As they continue to grow, they will be moved to other locations in the aquarium.
A name that speaks for itself, Big Skates are the largest species of skates found in North America and can get upwards of eight feet – that’s about the size of a surfboard. Despite this large size, their flat features and sandy coloration enable them to seamlessly blend into the seafloor. They have two large, black spots on their fins masquerading as oversized eyes. It’s believed these “eyes” make skates look larger, tricking potential predators from messing with them. While skates closely resemble stingrays, they are different. Skates lack a stinging barb and do not give live birth.