White Skate

Dipturus linteus


When compared to other northwest Atlantic skates, the white skate is characterized by its long, narrow snout and the single row of large thorn-like spines numbering approximately 40 - 51 (depending on capture location) that extend along the midline of the back from the nuchal region to the first dorsal. Other rows of thorns flank those along the median row of the tail, but are much smaller in comparison. The upper surface of the disc is relatively spine free except for 2 spines in front of eyes; 1 spine at the inner border; 4 spines behind the eyes; and 3 spines over the shoulder. The outer anterior margins of the pectorals are prickly. The lower surface of the disc is smooth. The white skate has two dorsal fins either separated by a short space (with no spine) or confluent; an indistinct caudal membrane; and rather strongly scalloped pelvic fins. Teeth in the white skate are conical and cusped. Colouration is brownish-gray on the upper surface, and white on the lower surface, with the posterior borders of the pelvics and the ventral surface of tail with some darkening.


The white skate is a large skate, reaching 111.7 cm to 123 cm TL in total length.


Only two specimens of white skate have been reported from the northwest Atlantic , both of which were taken from the northern slope of Flemish Cap. Other captures have been reported in west Greenland. In the eastern Atlantic, the white skate occurs in Icelandic waters, the Faroe-Shetland area, Sweden, Skageraak, and south-western Norway.


This species occurs in moderately deep (250 m) to deep water in boreal and partly arctic latitudes.

Life History



This species feeds on a variety of organisms, including fish, crustaceans, and polychaetes.


Oviparous. Fecundity assumed to be less than 100 individuals.