“Mystery” gross thing washes up on Tsawwassen beach

Delta Optimist

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It’s something you don’t often see wash ashore in these parts.

A dead sea creature resembling a stingray, likely a skate which is in the same family, was discovered by Tsawwassen resident Davina Grant at Centennial Beach this morning while she walked her dog.

“I’ve seen plenty of jellyfish wash up but never anything like this. It looks like it was three feet long,” she told the Optimist after taking a photo of the odd discovery.

Noting skates aren’t usually seen washed ashore, Maria Surry with Fisheries and Oceans Canada said the creatures reside in Strait of Georgia, the most common being big skates and longnose skates. There’s about 14 varieties of skates that swim in B.C. waters, lurking at different depths.

There are over 500 species of skates and rays in the world.

The DFO notes that along with their basic body shape, skates and rays are characterized by ventral gill openings, eyes and spiracles located on the top of the head, pavement-like teeth, and lack of an anal fin. Unique adaptations of certain species include specialized electric organs capable of producing a painful electric charge (electric rays) and modified placoid scales – or barbs – capable of giving a piercing sting (stingrays).

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Despite this diversity, however, skates and rays – collectively known as batoids – are a little-known group. The DFO had an extensive tagging program off the coast of B.C. several years ago to learn more about the species.

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