Dipturus laevis

Common Name

Barndoor Skate

Year Described

Mitchill, 1818


Disk diamond-shaped with a straight to slightly concave anterior margin. Snout long. Pectoral fins angular to bluntly pointed. Anterior pelvic fin lobe is about as long as posterior lobe. Tail around 50% of TL and has skin folds on both sides. There are two dorsal fins, separated slightly from each other. The caudal fin consists of a moderately developed upper and lower lobe. Upper jaw with 30-40 tooth rows.

Body is smooth above, with denticles restricted to snout and along anterior margin of disk. There are 1-3 orbital thorns. No scapular thorns. No thorns on midline of body anterior to pelvic base. Tail with a single median row of 23-40 thorns and another lateral thorn row on each side of tail. A single thorn present between the dorsal fins. Ventral surface without dermal denticles except for around snout and anterior disk margin.


Brown to reddish brown, with dark ocellated round spots surrounded by paler brown halos. There is usually a brighter, more distinct ocellus on the mid-base of pectoral fins. Tail with irreguar alternating bands of dark and pale brown. Ventral surface pale with darker gray margins on pectoral fins. Ampullar pores on dorsal head and ventral surface darkened.


Maximum size to 153cm TL.


Demersal from 1-450m (usually <150m). Sometimes occurs in estuarine waters.


Off Newfoundland to North Carolina. Records south of NC may refer to other species.


Froese, R. & D. Pauly. Editors. 2012. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (10/2012).

Sulak, K.J., MacWhirter P.D., Luke K.E., Norem A.D., Miller J.M., Cooper J.A., and Harris L.E. 2009. Identification guide to skates (Family Rajidae) of the Canadian Atlantic and adjacent regions. Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 2850: viii + 34 p.