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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 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:

WHAT'S NEW?

Shark picture - green sawfish

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BLIND SHARK

Photographs copyright Andy Murch all rights reserved.

View all available Blind Shark Pictures

Common Names: Blind Shark

Latin Name: Brachaelurus waddi

Other common names:

瓦氏長鬚鯊 China Mandarin Chinese

瓦氏长须鲨 China Mandarin Chinese

Blind haj Denmark Danish

Blinde haai Netherlands Dutch

Brown catshark Australia English

Requin aveugle des roches France French

Tiburón ciego de roca Spain Spanish

Žralok slepý Czech Rep. Czech

Family: Brachaeluridae

Identification:

Long  prominent barbells. Spiracles large. Two high dorsal fins of roughly equal size set well back on body. Dorsal coloration mottled grey/brown with prominent but sometimes indistinct darker saddles and small white spots. Markings fade with age and large adults may display an almost uniform dark grey/brown coloration. Ventrum pale but slightly mottled.

Size: at birth 15 to 18cm. Max 122cm.

Habitat:  Rocky and coral reefs and sea grass beds. Often in surge swept turbid areas. Intertidal to 150m. 

Abundance and distribution: Resricted to Australia. Northern Territory to New South Wales. Unconfirmed reports from Western Australia. A common inhabitant of near-shore reefs.

Behavior:  Nocturnal. Juveniles lodge themselves in shallow reef crevices by day. Larger adults rest in caves. Hunts for anemones, cuttlefish, crabs, and shrimp. The blind shark gets its common name from its habit of closing its eyes when held out of the water.

In Nelson Bay, NSW. Blind sharks tend to rest out in the open laying on sponges.

Reproduction: Ovoviviparous. Gives birth during the summer months. Litter  number maximum eight.

Photographs: Bait Reef, South West Rocks, NSW. Australia.

 

Similar species: The only other member of the blind shark family is the Colcloughs Shark (Heteroscyllium colcloughi). It is a rarely encountered species and is distinguished by its plainer coloration, relatively small second dorsal fin, and anal fin which is further away from the lower caudal lobe.

 

Reaction to divers: When encountered during the day, blind sharks generally remain motionless or try to bury deeper into their hiding places. At night they can sometimes be closely observed foraging on the reef but they are generally wary.

Divers that have removed resting sharks from crevices have been bitten. There are reports of stubborn blind sharks latching onto diver's wetsuits and refusing to let go until taken to the surface. Even then they had to have their jaws pried apart. One report of a shark letting go once it was doused in fresh water.

 

Diving logistics: Blind sharks are regularly encountered by divers in NSW and Queensland. The shallow reefs around South West Rocks, NSW. are a good place to look. Some of these dives can be done from shore but the best encounters are slightly deeper and require boat access. Green Island is an exceptionally good site that may turn up 4 or 5 Blind Sharks on one dive as well as many wobbegong sharks and grey nurse sharks. For boat diving try Fish Rock Dive Centre.

Bait Reef in SW Rocks is also a good place to look and is accessible by boat or from shore if conditions permit. It can be accessed by parking in the grounds of the old jail and swimming out from the rocks. Contact Jon at Fish Rock Dive Centre for more detailed directions.

References and 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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