Scientific Name: Rostroraja alba
Gaelic Name: Scalaphort ban
Conservation status: Classified as critically endangered in Europe by the World Conservation Union and protected under EU law since 2009.
Range: Although at its northernmost limit in the English Channel, it is more likely to be found (although still extremely rare) off the south west coasts of Ireland and England.
Habitat: It may be caught on the same grounds as the Common Skate and it is possible that it has been wrongly identified as this species.
Diet: Fish, crustaceans and cephalopods.
Predators: Seals, humans.
Reproduction: Females lay eggs throughout the year with a 15 month incubation period.
The White Skate produces very large eggs that are protected in a sturdy capsule called a mermaid’s purse. The capsules are at least 13 cm long!
If you find one of these extremely rare purses on the beach, please do report it to your local shark and ray sightings scheme.