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ANDY MURCH BIO

 

WHAT IS ELASMODIVER?

Not just Shark Pictures: Elasmodiver contains photos of sharks, skates, rays, and chimaera's from around the world. Elasmodiver began as a simple web based shark field guide to help divers find the best places to encounter the different species of sharks and rays that live in shallow water but it has slowly evolved into a much larger project containing information on all aspects of shark diving and shark photography.

There are now more than 10,000 shark pictures  and sections on shark evolution, biology, and conservation. There is a large library of reviewed shark books, a constantly updated shark taxonomy page, a monster list of shark links, and deeper in the site there are numerous articles and stories about shark encounters. Elasmodiver is now so difficult to check for updates, that new information and pictures are listed on an Elasmodiver Updates Page that can be accessed here:

WHAT'S NEW?

Shark picture - green sawfish

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ATLANTIC COWNOSE RAY

atlantic cownose ray

 

Atlantic cownose ray

View all available Atlantic Cownose Ray Pictures in the Shark Pictures Database

Common Names: Atlantic Cownose Ray, Cownosed Ray.

Latin Name: Rhinoptera bonasus

Family: Rhinopteridae

Identification: Pectoral Fins wide and falcate (sickle shaped). Bulbous head with concave leading edge (as in a cows nose hence common name). Single dorsal fin present at base of tail. Tail long and whiplike. Dorsum generally mid to dark brown. Ventrum pale with dusky pectoral fin tips. Individual species of cownose rays are very difficult to identify by visual clues alone and geographic range of different species partially overlap. Max size can be a useful clue. Accurate identification is possible by examination of tooth plates and vertebral counts of dead specimens.

Size: Maximum disc width 213cm. Disc width at birth 36cm.

Habitat: Inshore waters, beaches, seamounts, mangroves, to 60m depth.

Abundance and distribution: Eastern Atlantic from Mauritania, Senegal, and Guinea. Western Atlantic from New England to Brazil.

Behavior: Swims in chools or singly. Stirs up sediment by flapping pectoral fins to find prey (mollusks and crustaceans).

Reproduction: Females give birth in protected mangrove areas.

Observations: I have seen a school of Atlantic Cownose Rays in Palama City FL. weaving between swimmers on the beach in 4ft of water.

Photographs: Florida.

Similar species: Cownose Ray species are difficult to identify from one another without close examination. Best clues include size and Geographic location.

Reaction to divers: As mentioned above, I have witnessed these rays swimming semingly oblivious around bathers but generally they are hard to approach or even locate.

Diving logistics: If you know of any area where cownosed rays can be reliably found please contact elasmodiver.

Other locations for viewing Atlantic Cownose Rays submitted by readers:

Locations submitted by Chris Strong:

I see them whenever I go to the Outer Banks and go out on the Frisco fishing pier.  The viewing height makes it easier to see them.   They come up near the surface, usually in pairs, then disappear again.   I've seen them reliably from the Frisco fishing pier northeast towards the point.  There are some real monsters.   Just this last Friday I caught a 35-40 pounder while fishing near the Billy Mitchell airport.   I had fun trying to get it in, then released it unharmed.    This stretch of shallow water seems to be attractive for them, at least when I've been there (usually from the last couple of weeks in April through the first couple of weeks in May).   I do not know about other times of the year.

This area seems to be popular with Sandbar Tiger Sharks also.   I usually hear of someone catching one or two sizable ones each year.   I pulled in about a 20-25 pounder about 10 or 15 minutes after I landed the ray.    I think that this area would prove promising for observing rays, however the riptides are treacherous there.

Further reading:

       Reef Sharks and Rays of the World. Scott W. Michael. Sea Challengers.

       Sharks and Rays - Elasmobranch Guide of the World. Ralf M. Hennemann. IKAN.  

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