Common Skate Eggcase

Common Skate Eggcase © Shark Trust.What we have previously called the ‘Common Skate’ has now been recognised as being two distinct species that have long been confused under the single scientific name Dipturus batis. These two species are now known as the Flapper Skate (Dipturus c.f. intermedia - pictured left), which is found primarily along the Northwest coast of Scotland and around the Isles, and the Blue Skate (Dipturus c.f. batis or Dipturus c.f. flossada - pictured right), which is found off the Southwest of Ireland (no eggcases of the Blue Skate have been submitted to the Great Eggcase Hunt).

Latin Name: Dipturus batis complex

Capsule: Very large, golden brown in colour and fibrous.

Capsule Size: Approximately 130-235mm in length (when soaked).

Horns (when present): Horns are not always obvious and appear quite short as sunk into deep fields.

Lateral keels: Distinct, wide keels.

Fields: Deep fields which are often ragged.

Characteristic features:
This is an extremely large eggcase. Soaked specimens are easily the size of an A5 sheet of paper. Dry eggcases contract significantly and can take over 24 hours to rehydrate (older specimens are unlikely to rehydrate to their original state). Weathering changes the appearance - fresher specimens are often covered in a golden fibrous 'bark' which will come off in strands to expose the smooth, dark capsule below.

Common Skate have historically been overfished, and their distribution is now limited to Scotland and north Ireland; please submit records with photos for verification.