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BIO OF ANDY MURCH

 

 

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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CALIFORNIA SWELL SHARK

California Swell Shark

Swell Shark picture

Mermaids purse - swell shark egg capsule

Photographs copyright Andy Murch all rights reserved.

View all available California Swell Shark Pictures

Common Names: California Swell Shark, Swell Shark, Swellshark, Balloon Shark.

Latin Name: Cephaloscyllium ventriosum

Other common names:

акула раздувающаяся Russia Fed Russian

акула калифорнийская раздувающаяся Russia Russian

东太平洋绒毛鲨 China Mandarin Chinese

東太平洋絨毛鯊 China Mandarin Chinese

Blĺshaj Sweden Swedish

Californisk ballonhaj Denmark Danish

Gato hinchado Mexico Spanish

Holbiche ventrue France French

Pejegato hinchado Spain Spanish

Schwellhai Germany German

Tiburón inflado Peru Spanish

Žralok kalifornský nafukovací Czech Rep Czech

Zwelhaai Netherlands Dutch

Family: Scyliorhinidae

Identification:

First dorsal fin rounded and set well back behind pelvic fin origin. Second dorsal fin smaller and positioned over anal fin. Eye large and golden. Spiracle small. Dorsal coloration light brown with darker brown patches and saddles fringed with small off white dots. Many small black dots cover entire length of body and fins. Body shape may appear flabby or rotund if threatened.

Size: Max 100cm.

Habitat:  Found on continental shelves and shallow inshore rocky reefs and kelp beds. Often seen under ledges or tucked into crevices. Max recorded depth 457m.

Abundance and distribution: Eastern Pacific from Central California coast to the Gulf of California (Baja) and Southern Mexico. A southern population occurs in central Chile but this population may eventually prove to be a distinct species.

Behavior:  Nocturnal. California Swell Sharks lodge themselves in reef crevices by day. At night they leave their shelter to hunt for bony fishes, molluscs and crustaceans. When necessary the swell shark can fill it's stomach with water or air. This capacity helps the swell shark lodge itself securely in its resting spot. It may also make it too large for a predator to tackle.

Reproduction: Oviparous. Swell sharks lay two flattened egg cases that they attach to the reef with long tendrils that extend from one end.

Photographs: Refugio Beach, California, USA.

 

Similar species: The California Swell Shark is the only shallow water catshark found in California.

 

Reaction to divers: Swell Sharks generally stay completely motionless when encountered during the day. They may attempt to swell up if harassed but remain within the confines of their hiding places.

 

Diving logistics: Refugio Beach north of Santa Barbara is a great place to find California Swell Sharks. Swim out to the kelp forest at the southern end of the beach and descend at the edge of the kelp in about 15ft of water. Follow the reef edge or enter the forest and swim out and south until you find the largest ledges, some of which are big enough to park a small car under. The swell sharks are usually hidden in the deepest crevices.

Read the shark diver magazine article on diving with California Swell Sharks here.

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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