The enlargement viewer only works properly once ALL images on this page are loaded.
Species index
Species Index
Emerald Diving
Explore the coastal and inland waters of
Washington and BC
Big Skate
Raja binoculata
Typical Size: 1-4 width
ID: Blunt, rounded nose.  One relative large spot on each wing.
Comments:  I infrequently note the magnificent big skate.   When I am fortunate enough to encounter this skate, it is usually while diving extensive soft and relatively flat substrates.  Big skates can reportedly grow to 8' in width, although I have never seen one more than 36" in width.  I obviously need to dive more.
Longnose Skate
Raja rhina
Typical size: 2-4 length
ID: Sharp, pointed nose.  One small spot on each wing.
Comments: With it's pointy nose, the longnose skate is easy to discern from the big skate.  I note longnose skates much more frequently than I do big skates.  They seem to move into areas like Three Tree Point during certain times of the year (fall and/or winter).  I have noted longnose skates as shallow as 15 feet and at depths over 100 feet. 


Pacific Electric Ray
Torpedo califorica
Typical size: up to 4.6' in  length.
ID: 
Thick, round body.  Full tail fin.  Serious - there is nothing else like this in our waters.
Comments:  Ranging from Baja to BC, these rays are a very rare sighting in WA and BC waters.  Two kidney shaped organs within the ray can produce an electric charge up to 45V, which is enough to knock a man down and certain stun a fish.  All marine life should be treated with resepct, this deserves extra merit as it carries a taser.
Big Skate
Long Nose Skate
Pacific Electric Ray
Big Skate Egg Case
Raja binoculata
Typical size: 4" length
ID: 
"H" shaped egg purse with a bulging middle.  Yellow color.
Comments:  I only occasionally note these egg cases attached to the substrate.  This photo was taken while diving Possession Point Fingers in Puget Sound.
Big Skate Eggcase
Spotted Ratfish
Spotted Ratfish
Hydrolagus colliei
Typical size: 24 length
ID:
Long slender tail, large eyes, rodent-like front teeth, gold-copper metallic skin with white spots.  Sharp poisonous spine behind first dorsal.
Comments:  Ratfish are commonly noted throughout all Washington waters, but they do tend to come and go.    The ratfish swims gracefully with it oversized pectoral fins.  Like dogfish, ratfish have a single and slightly venomous dorsal spine.  Ratfish are sometimes called chimeara or rabbitfish.  
Pacific Spiny Dogfish
Pacific Spiny Dogfish
Squalus acanthias
Typical size: 24-48 length
ID: 
Slender body with two dorsal fins.  Sharp spines on leading edge of each dorsal fin.  Typically has a row of white spots along the side.
Comments:  Scorned by fishermen, dogfish are a true spectacle underwater .  I only occasionally note these sleek swimmers as they rest on the bottom or leisurely patrol a reef.  On a couple of lucky occasions, I have witnessed dogfish rounding up herring.  Dogfish have a slightly venomous and sharp spine on both dorsals.