© Maria King
This photo submitted by Maria King shows the skate that washed up at Spanish Banks beach in Vancouver.
A stingray-like skate has washed up on the shores of Vancouver.
In an email with photos of the skate sent to The Province
, Marie King said she found the bottom-feeding fish at Spanish Banks during low tide Sunday afternoon.
Eric Taylor, director of the Beaty Biodiversity Museum and a UBC zoology professor, said it's hard to be certain what kind of skate it is without seeing the actual specimen, but observed that it looks like a "rather large longnose skate, which is a native marine fish."
Taylor said he sometimes sees squid, dogfish and small sharks washed up on the beach, but skates show up less frequently.
"It's not extremely rare," he said. "I've seen, certainly, lots of things like skate egg cases - these are sort of tough little leathery things colloquially known as 'mermaid's purses' - that wash up."
Taylor said skates might be spotted near sandy areas around Stanley Park or Spanish Banks at very low tide in the spring, when they're not busy crushing small fish, crustaceans and mollusks on the ocean floor with their "pavement-like jaws".
Skates aren't a threat to humans, but can become lunch for sea lions and sharks, Taylor said.