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The whip-tailed sting rays, like the skates, are disc-like in form, very thin toward the outer edges, with the anterior parts of the pectoral fins fused with the sides of the head, and with the eyes and spiracles on the upper surface. Their pelvic fins, however, have convex outer edges, not concave as are those of the skates. They have no dorsal fin. Their tails are long and whiplash-like toward the tip and armed, in most of them with one to several saw-edged, venomous spines on the upper side. Their teeth are small and in many series, closely crowded in bands along the jaws. The upper surface of disc and tail is smooth in some of them, variously roughened with tubercles, thorns or prickles in others. They do not lay eggs as the skates do, but bear "living" young (p. 57). And the young resemble their parents closely when born. Four species are known along the Middle and South Atlantic States, but only one of them reaches the Gulf of Maine, and then only as a stray. Should any long-tailed sting ray be picked up within the limits of the Gulf that does not fit the following description, its captor is referred to Bigelow and Schroeder, 1953,[79] for its identification.

[79] Fishes Western North Atlantic, Pt. 2. Mem. 1, Sears Foundation, 1953.