9-13-12 Unusual skate on Arctic beach - Barrow, Alaska, USA
Observation: Unusual fish 'stingray' found along the beach of Barrow. We didn't know we got string rays this far north. Qinugan Roddy
Consult: Dr. Ken Goldman with the commercial fishing division at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game writes: "My resident skate expert has stated with 90% confidence that this is an Alaska skate, Bathyraja parmifera. Here is what he sent me:
It looks like an Alaska Skate, Bathyraja parmifera, that has seen better days. I would have to look closer at the thorn patterns, but I am pretty certain that is what it is. I have seen dried B. parmifera from the Chukchi Sea before, and that skate is known to occur in shallow water. In fact, it is the most common skate on the Bering Shelf, making up about 90% of the skate biomass.
Ken Goldman continues: "this is within the typical range for that species, but it is not too common to find skates washed up anywhere; now and again it happens, but not too common of an occurrence as they typically sink to the bottom. Maybe bottom currents carried this one to shore or it died close enough to have wave action put it on the beach."
Thank you, Ken, for the species identification and thank you to Qinugan for sharing the observation.