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Species: Gurgesiella atlantica, Atlantic Skate, Atlantic Abyssal Skate

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disc wider than long, angular side tips
snout short, blunt, tip firm
under disc with denticles
top brown, +/- blotches; C black
tail slender, long, usually no D
pelvics = 1 triangular lobe

Gurgesiella atlantica (Bigelow & Schroeder, 1962)

Atlantic Skate, Atlantic Abyssal Skate

Disc much wider (~1.7X) than long, slightly convex from tip of snout to level of spiracles then concave to outer angular corners, rear margins gently rounded; snout short, broadly rounded, with a small pointed, soft and flexible tip, supported by a narrow snout cartilage that is firm along rear 60% and flexible at front; nostrils greatly enlarged; nasal curtain with few or no fringes; teeth with low cusps in females and young males, sharp cusps in mature males; pelvic fins not divided into two parts by a notch, with laterally directed pointed lobes & roughly straight rear margins; tail slender, very elongate, almost 2X disc length to cloaca; dorsal fin usually absent, if present is ~20% of TL in advance of tip of tail, well before tail fin; tail fin with separate, unjoined upper and lower lobes, lower lobe shorter and lower; tail with lateral skin folds from a little behind pelvic tips to a little beyond origin of upper tail fin; upper surface of disc covered with very small denticles with star-shaped bases, more dense between and before eyes that at rear, present on pelvics and tail fin; thorns: several irregular rows of very small, blunt thorns in a narrow central band from nape to base of tail; tail with 2-3 interrupted rows of larger sharp, hooked thorns at front, grading to 1-2 rows at rear: lower surface with denticles on front half of disc and along bottom of tail; male sex organ very long and slender.

Upper surface pale brown, sometimes with obscure dark blotches, tail fin black; lower surface pale brown to pinkish, with 6-10 dark brown blotches or bars on underside of tail.

Reaches 49 cm

Lives on soft bottoms.

Depth range 223-1575 m.

The Gulf of Mexico to the Amazon.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Offshore
  • Offshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Bathydemersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic worms
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • No pelagic larva
  • No pelagic phase
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Caribbean endemic
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Data deficient
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 49
Depth Range Min
  • 223
Depth Range Max
  • 1575