Skates

Sun-dried, the remains of a skate repose on that great depository of all things, the beach, Jamaica Bay branch. This may be the Little or Common Skate, Leucoraja erinacea. Cartilaginous like their relatives the sharks, skates reproduce by laying eggs, unlike their near look-a-likes the rays, who bear live young. Rays also have longer, more whip-like tails, with those dangerous stinging spines. There are no poisonous spines on skate tails. And rays are generally tropical. The underside of another dead skate further along the beach. I assume I’ll meet death with a similar expression.

Oddly, I don’t seem to have a photo of a skate egg case, those black-brown “mermaid’s purses” with two stiff arms on each side, that I’ve been finding along the beach for, um, 40 years or so, but here’s a drawing by Marion Appel to remind you:

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4 Responses to “Skates”


  1. 1 Out Walking the Dog June 4, 2012 at 8:19 am

    What a face in the underside! And a lovely drawing of a skate case. Time for me to go to the beach!

  2. 3 Out Walking the Dog June 5, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Had to return for another look. Every time I thought of that expression yesterday, I giggled. Out loud. So maybe…tragedy IS the face of comedy?

    • 4 mthew June 5, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      What did Oscar Wilde say about the death scene of Little Nell (I’d Google it but this connection is via semophore), something about it being impossible to keep a straight face.


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