The big skate is often mistaken for a stingray. Unlike rays, skates lack the long, whip-like tail and sharp barb that give stingrays their name. Instead, the tail of the skate is short, stocky, and has a dorsal fin. More significant than the tail, however, is that skates will lay egg cases, commonly called a mermaid’s purse, while rays give live birth.
The big skate is the largest Alaskan skate and may reach up to 200 lbs (90 kg). Although people rarely seek to catch them, by-catch skate are sometimes sold as imitation scallops or labeled as real scallops by unscrupulous sellers.