Skates range in length from a few inches (centimeters) to about 8 ft (2.4 m). Most, however, are less than 2 ft (60 cm) long. Skates are rather sluggish animals that prefer to lie on the bottom or slowly cruise around, looking for the clams, snails, shrimp and other small animals that they eat.
The skin of skates is generally covered with numerous scales, but some skates have smooth skin. Skates do not have barbed tails, but some have organs along the sides of the tail that can produce an electric shock (this critter does not). The voltage they emit is generally low. Young skates hatch from eggs contained in leathery, protective capsules (ovoviviparous).
They have a max disc width of 1.6 ft (0.48 m) and a max length 2.8 ft (0.84 m). They are a warm season visitor, meaning as the snow birds flock to Sarasota, the clearnose skates say, "Peace!" and head to offshore waters during these colder months.
But don't think they are shy of cold water. They've been caught in waters as low as 43.3°F (6.3°C) to 80.6°F (27°C). That's some chilly water... no wonder they head over to the warmer currents! They still find their delectable food wherever they go, though: this includes, but is not limited to, mollusks, shrimp, crabs, and small fish. Yummy.
In Florida, since they are ovoviviparous, they lay their eggs between December and May (so, if you celebrate Easter, don't pick up these eggs). One female clearnose skate can lay up to 66 eggs in one season (not in one area, though). Incubation period is unknown, but is thought to last at least three months.
They are a non-aggressive animal that poses little threat to humans. Yet, they do have predators, such as the grey nurse shark (aka sand tiger shark).
Their IUCN status sees no immediate threat, but they are frequently caught as bycatch.
For more information about these animals (up in Maine), visit here.