Waitarere Beach mystery from the deep solved - it's a smooth skate
Intriguing remains of a sea creature found bobbing in surf at Waitarere Beach near Levin have been identified.
With a big head and a backbone around two metres long, they had a sinister look about them.
Sent in for ID by Maria Lombard, found at Waitarere: Remains of a smooth skate, Dipturus innominatus. pic.twitter.com/tQdQg2Tj5l— Te Papa (@Te_Papa) February 9, 2016
Maria Lombard, who found the remains sent a picture of the discovery off to Te Papa in the hope they could be identified.
"It's quite a bit like I think a dragon should look like if it was ... just the head and its spine," she said.
Turns out it wasn't anything so magical, or dangerous.
In a tweet, Te Papa advised the remains were the brain case and vertebrae of a smooth skate, which goes by the scientific name Dipturus innominatus.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Dipturus innominatus are widespread throughout New Zealand waters. They can be found as deep as 1200m, but are rarely deeper than 800m.
They are long-lived, getting to more than 24 years, with females not maturing until 13-years-old.
The remains measure 2.08m. Photo: MARIA LOMBARD/FACEBOOK
The curious find on the beach. Photo: MARIA LOMBARD/FACEBOOK
Maria Lombard's mum Griet with the strange find. Photo: MARIA LOMBARD/FACEBOOK