Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

California Skate

Raja inornata


Fun Facts

    The California Skate has a skeleton made completely out of cartilage.

    Skates differ from rays in many ways, one of which is the lack of a venomous spine at the base of the tail.




The California skate is a type of elasmobranch that lives on the sandy or muddy bottom, mostly in 120 meters (400 feet) or less. California skates occur in Eastern Pacific from Canada and to central Baja California, Mexico. The body is dorso-vertrally flattened with the pectoral fins shaped like “wings.” They are olive-brown above, sometimes with dark mottling and occasionally with two dark rings or eyespots, and tan below. They have a moderately long, pointed snout that is a projection of cartilage. They are small skates reaching 75 cm (30 inches) total length.

California skates feed on shrimp, crabs and fishes. Fertilization is internal and the females lay egg cases. Eggs are oblong capsules with stiff pointed horns at the corners.

California skates are usually found at the Aquarium in tank number 15 and 35.