Saturday 25 May
Flapper skate (Dipturus batis)
What’s the World’s Favourite Species?Find out here.
Flapper skate fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Flapper skate description
The flapper skate (Dipturus batis) is the largest European ray (1). The undersurface is dark grey with black spots or stripes and the uppersurface is more of a greenish brown colour (3), often with lighter mottling (5). The snout is pointed and the flattened body has a rhombic shape with sharp corners (4), and slightly concave outer edges to the wings (3). There is a row of 12 to 18 thorns along the tail (4).
- Also known as
- Blue skate, common skate, grey skate.
- Flotte, Pocheteau Gris, Pochette.
- Noriega, Raya Noruega. Top
The UK BAP Species Action Plan:
- In the fishing industry, the part of the catch made up of non-target species.
IUCN Red List (May, 2006)
UK BAP (August, 2002)
The Marine Life Information Network for Britain and Ireland (MarLIN) (August, 2002)
- Burnie, D. (2001) Animal. Dorling Kindersley, London.
Fishbase (August, 2002)
Shark Trust (August, 2002)
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
Flapper skate biology
The flapper skate is often seen travelling in same sex/age groups (3), near to the sea floor (4). Mating occurs mainly in the spring and during copulation there is a distinct embrace between males and females (4). The female then lays long oblong egg capsules, which are anchored into the muddy or sandy substrate by their stiff pointed horns (4). An individual will lay around 40 eggs a year (4). Males only reach sexual maturity once they have reached a length of 125 centimetres, which corresponds to around 10 years of age (2). The flapper skate is thought to live for as long as 50 years (2), and it takes around 14 years for the population to double in size (4).Top
Flapper skate range
The flapper skate is found in the eastern Atlantic Ocean from Madeira and northern Morocco, north to Iceland and Norway. Despite its widespread distribution, this species is extremely scarce in European waters and may already have disappeared from the Irish Sea (2).Top
Flapper skate habitatTop
Flapper skate status
The flapper skate is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Flapper skate threats
Flapper skates are long-lived and slow to mature, factors that make them particularly vulnerable to both direct and accidental targeting by the fishing industry (2). During the mid 20th Century, skates and rays made up a considerable amount of commercial fishing in the United Kingdom (6). The population of flapper skates has seen a drastic decline in European waters following this intensive fishing pressure. Although no longer targeted in the majority of areas, as the population is too low, these fish are still threatened by fisheries bycatch (2).Top
Flapper skate conservation
Further research on the distribution of the species and the monitoring of life-cycles, growth and so on will also need to be undertaken in order to successfully manage the recovery of this fish (2).Top
Find out more
Find out more about the flapper skate:
Further information on the conservation of sharks and rays:Top
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.