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
There are now
more than 5000 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:
Dorsum black or
very dark brown. No tail spines. Base of tail laterally compressed. Relatively
short cephalic lobes and long caudal filament (tail) compared to other
mobulids. Pale spot near free tip of dorsal fin.
disc width 120cm. Size at birth 55cm
Shallow inshore waters. From surface to sea
Abundance and distribution:
The Atlantic devilray is restricted to the Western
Atlantic from New Jersey in the north to Santos, Brazil in the south including
the Gulf of Mexico. Possibly also present in the Azores.
Atlantic mobula feeds mostly of planktonic crustaceans
(mysid shrimp) but will also consume very small fishes.
Ovoviviparous with one pup per lItter.
Atlantic devilrays reportedly swim venter to venter towards the surface while
The Atlantic devilray is assessed as 'data deficient' by the IUCN.
IUCN Quote: It
[the Atlantic devilray] is taken as bycatch in longline, net and possibly other
fisheries, but very little specific information is currently available on its
capture, abundance and population trends from across its range. Although trawl
survey data from the east coast of the USA suggests possible increasing trends
there, this represents the northern extent of its range, and further information
is required on its abundance and interaction with fisheries from the Caribbean
Sea and South America. This species is therefore assessed as Data Deficient
until population trends and the impact of fisheries can be determined.
Gulf of Mexico near Panama City, USA.
Mobula rays are very difficult to differentiate in the field. The Atlantic
devilray shares its range with the sicklefin devil ray Mobula tarapacana
which can be distinguished by its larger size, swept back pectoral fins, bluish
to olive grey dorsum and ventral markings which are pale anterially and dark
posterially with a distinct demarcation between the two shades. Other mobulas
have not been confirmed from the western Atlantic but some may be cicumtropical.
Reaction to divers:
Devil rays do not usually allow divers to get close
especially if they are producing noisy scuba bubbles. Patience and some skill at
breath holding may produce better results.
In the Pan Handle of Florida (Northern Gulf of Mexico) it may be possible to
encounter Atlantic devilrays while snorkeling off of the beaches. The images
shown here were taken during a jetty dive in Panama City in July. Mobulas often
migrate into warmer water in the winter so the best time to look for them in
their northern range is probably in mid to late summer.