Clearnose Skate

The Clearnose Skate gets its name from the transparent area on either side of its pointed 'nose'. This skate is generally brown or gray in color with dark spots all over its back. It has a strong, muscular tail, a downward pointing mouth, and a row of spines down the middle of its back. Large triangular fins extend from the snout to the tail. Clearnoses can grow to be 33 inches long and 19 inches wide.

The clearnose skate is found in the mild, shallow shores of the Atlantic Ocean (from Massachusetts to south Florida) and in the Gulf of Mexico. It will sometimes be seen as far north as Canada. Clearnoses swim close to the bottom of the ocean, searching for clams, mussels, shrimp, crabs and small fish to catch and crush in their broad teeth.

Like many skates, the clearnose lays eggs inside a protective black case near the bottom of the shore. Sometimes these sacs are seen washed up on beaches. After mating in late fall, the female will leave sacs of eggs every 2 to 14 days from December to May--up to 66 eggs per season. It takes about 3 months for the eggs to hatch and the young clearnoses are independent from birth.

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