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Old 03-08-2010, 07:53 AM   #1
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Default ID of carcass from Plum Island shore

We took a walk on the Plum Island (MA) shore yesterday. With the spring like weather we had, the place was packed but that was alright. The ducks and geese were there in force but not much else birdwise. We spent most of the time walking the shore and looking at the various bits washed up on shore, collecting a few choice small pieces of driftwood and one really cool shell. My friend and I both exercise considerable restraint in that regard both because we want to have minimal impact on that area and because if we were to keep everything that intrigued us, we'd have to rent a storage locker. We do make an exception for trash, though. On the way back to the truck we collected as much trash as we could carry, concentrating on plastic bottles. As we walked along loaded down with trash, one couple thanked us and about a half dozen looked at us like we were crazy. We saw a few other folks doing the same thing. I think most people look at how much trash is washed in each day and think that they can't make a difference but I couldn't help thinking that if even half the people down there took one plastic shopping bag full of trash back with them then a real impact would have been made, at least locally.
I digress, on to the carcass. I don't really have any marine life ID resources so I thought about you folks immediately (lucky you, huh?)
This thing was about 14" tip to tail. It's hard to tell from the picture of the underside but it has two thick protuberances which stick up on either side of the tail (this is while it's on it's back so technically they stick down). These protuberances are about 8" long. I honestly have no idea what I was looking at. Do you?

ID of carcass from Plum Island shore-042-ed.jpgID of carcass from Plum Island shore-043ed.jpgID of carcass from Plum Island shore-045ed.jpg
ID of carcass from Plum Island shore-037-edit-sm.jpg
Just to show you something besides a carcass.
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Old 03-08-2010, 08:37 AM   #2
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What kind I am not sure, but it's some kind of ray.
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Old 03-08-2010, 08:43 AM   #3
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I was thinking that but my knowledge of marine animals is very sketchy so I didn't even offer that opinion.

I realize that in such a degraded condition, positive ID might well be impossible. I just thought I'd throw it out there and see what might come of it.
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Old 03-08-2010, 08:52 AM   #4
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[quote I digress, on to the carcass. I don't really have any marine life ID resources so I thought about you folks immediately (lucky you, huh?)
This thing was about 14" tip to tail. It's hard to tell from the picture of the underside but it has two thick protuberances which stick up on either side of the tail (this is while it's on it's back so technically they stick down). These protuberances are about 8" long. I honestly have no idea what I was looking at. Do you?

Attachment 14960Attachment 14961Attachment 14962
Attachment 14963
Just to show you something besides a carcass.[/quote]

This appears to be the remains of a cartilaginous fish known a a skate - see Common skate - Dipturus batis - Information - ARKive Your specimen likely is a male; the 'protuberances' are its claspers; modified pelvic fins used to transfer sperm to the female during mating - see http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/educat.../claspers2.jpg
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Old 03-08-2010, 09:05 AM   #5
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Thanks suunto. The links you provided seem conclusive. I appreciate your fulfilling my need to know.
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aquatic, aquatic life, aquatic species, batis, carcass, cartilaginous, cartilaginous fish, dipturus, dipturus batis, fish, fish identification, identification, identify, island, marine, marine life, marine species, ocean, ocean life, plum, plum island, shore, skate, skate fish, water

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