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Species: Malacoraja senta, Smooth Skate, Smooth-tail Skate

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disc heart-shaped, front edge ~straight
snout pointed, tip firm
pectorals end before snout tip
top disc & tail: dense denticles
disc thorns: shoulder to D, 1 row of 30-40
tail ~1/2 TL
no thorns on rear 1/3 tail



Malacoraja senta (Garman, 1885)

Smooth Skate, Smooth-tail Skate

Disc broadly heart-shaped, wider than long, corners broadly rounded, outer edges very thin; snout pointed, narrowly angled, moderately, long tip firm; pectorals separate from snout tip; anterior disc margins straight (mature males weakly undulated); nasal curtain in front of mouth without a pair of pits at front corners; pelvic fins with two lobes; tail length slightly >50% TL; upper disc of females & juveniles densely covered in velvet-like denticles, mature males with center of disc largely smooth; underside of disc smooth, except a band of denticles along ½ of front edge nearest snout; tail edged with, or totally covered with dermal denticles, (may be smooth in mature males); thorns around inner edges of eyes, on nape and shoulders; central row of 30-40 thorns from shoulders to 1st dorsal fin on tail those dwindling in size rearward and disappearing on rear ½-1/3 among dense denticles, well before first dorsal fin; lateral rows of thorns on disc and tail absent.

Medium greyish-brown above, with obscure dark mottling and spots and sometimes pale blotches; small juveniles with 2 to 4 pale, dark edged cross-bars along tail; underside of disc and pelvic fins white, occasionally with a few small dusky spots on outer pectoral fins and snout; underside of tail white, or irregularly dark blotched, or rear 1/3 all dark.

Reaches 71 cm TL.

Lives on soft and hard bottoms.

Depth range 25-1436 m, usually 70-480 m

Gulf of St Lawrence to South Carolina.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • In & Offshore
  • Inshore
  • Offshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
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 non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Extends North of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Vagrant
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
IUCN Red List
  • Endangered
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 71
Depth Range Min
  • 25
Depth Range Max
  • 1436