The Ray’s Close Cousin

Skates are a large suborder of cartilaginous fish within the ray family, consisting of more than 150 different species. They are similar to electric rays and stingrays with their flat body shape, flat pectoral fins extending the length of their bodies, and mouths located on the underside of the body. They are benthic feeders, spending the majority of their time camouflaged on the ocean’s floor and are distinguishable from other rays with their round to diamond-shaped form, sharp “noses,” and two dorsal fins on their tail.

With an abundant population and wide distribution, they are commonly sighted amongst scuba divers. In fact, skates can be found in most parts of the world from the warm tropical waters circling the equator to near-Arctic waters of the northern hemisphere, and live in both shallow and extremely deep areas of the ocean. Want to go diving with skates? Explore the map below for the most popular dive sites where they have been encountered.