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ABOUT ELASMODVR

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:

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Shark picture - green sawfish

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BANDED GUITARFISH

A male Banded Guitarfish. Image copyright Andy Murch 2007 All rights reserved

 

A female Banded Guitarfish. Image copyright Andy Murch 2007 All rights reserved

View all available Banded Guitarfish Pictures in the Shark Pictures Database

Common Names: Banded Guitarfish.

Latin Name: Zapteryx exasperata.

Family: Rhinobatidae

Identification: Disc width and length roughly equal. Snout rounded. Anterior margin of disc fairly straight but pectoral fin tips and trailing edges of pectoral fins broadly rounded. Body narrows into a long tail topped by two high dorsal fins of equal size. Thorns (enlarged denticles) extend in a single row along centre line of back and tail. Well developed caudal fin. Dorsum color sandy brown with dark blotches and bands running transversely across the body and tail. Bands between eyes and on snout are more distinct. Rostral ridges run parallel along the snout. Ventrum pale.

Size: Maximum length 97cm. 15 - 22cm at birth.

Habitat: Rocky reefs. Intertidal to about 20m. Maximum recorded depth 69m. Reports of banded guitarfish in tide pools.

Abundance and distribution: Eastern Pacific from southern California to the Sea of Cortez and possibly further south. A common visitor to reefs in southern baja.

Behavior: Rests by day in caves, under ledges, or in reef gullies. Rarely buries in sand. Feeds on crustaceans and other benthic invertebrates. Swims by using powerful caudal fin.

Reproduction: Banded Guitarfish are viviparous (without a yolk sac placenta). Female Banded Guitarfish mate in March/April and give birth in shallow sandy bays in late spring/summer. Litters 4-11.

During copulation the male holds onto the female's pectoral and pelvic fins with his teeth. When not enough females are available the males may become frenzied in their attempts to inseminate a partner. The female Banded Guitarfish pictured below, may have had portions of her pectoral fins torn away from just such an encounter.

Photographs: La Paz and Cabo Pulmo, Sea of Cortez, Mexico.

Similar species: The very similar Spotted Guitarfish (Zapteryx xyster) displays scattered pupil sized yellow spots edged in black on dorsum and ranges further south. The Shortnose Guitarfish (Zapteryx brevirostris) differs in having rostral ridges that converge towards the tip of the snout.

Reaction to divers: Very easy to approach. The Banded Guitarfish usually remains motionless or moves slowly from rock to rock in an effort to blend in. The female pictured above was so lifeless that I was able to gently lift her up and move her into a better position to photograph.

Diving logistics: Banded Guitarfish congregate in the lower Sea of Cortez during the winter months. In late February in Cabo Pulmo they were present during every dive on the reef at about 50ft and I encountered one while snorkelling in a shallow bay in the same area. Also during this time large schools of Mobula rays swarm over the reefs making it a great location for ray enthusiasts.

Other diving locations submitted by readers:

Further reading:

Sharks, Rays, and Chimaeras of California. David A. Ebert

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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