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ANDY MURCH ELASMO GEEK

 

WHAT IS ELASMODIVER?

Not just a huge collection of Shark Pictures: Elasmodiver.com contains images of sharks, skates, rays, and a few 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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Eastern Australian Angel Shark

 

Photographs copyright Andy Murch. All rights reserved.

 

View all available Eastern Australian Angel Shark Pictures in the Elasmodiver Shark Picture Database

 

Common Names: Eastern Australian angel shark, eastern angel shark, Australian angelshark.

 

Latin Name: Squatina punctata  

Family: Squatinidae

 

Identification:

Tan to grey flattened body with brown spots and blotches and many scattered white spots outlined with subtle dark rings. Larger dark spots form irregular ocelli. Forehead (between widely spaced eyes) concave. Terminal mouth with heavily fringed nasal barbells and anterior skin flaps.

 

Size: Maximum recorded size of males 110cm. Max size of females 130cm.

 

Habitat: 

Continental shelf and slope from 60 to 315m. Mostly 130-315m.

 

Abundance and distribution:

The eastern angel shark is restricted to the east coast of Australia. From Cairns in Northern Queensland down to Lakes Entrance, Victoria.

 

Diet:

Unknown.

 

Behavior:

Angel Sharks are ambush predators that lay in wait partially buried in the sand until an unsuspecting fish or invertebrate ventures too close. The eastern Australian angel shark's heavily branched nasal flaps and barbells probably play a part in enticing prey towards their mouths.

 

Reproduction:

Ovoviviparous. Litter size up to 20.

 

Conservation Status:

Listed as VULNERABLE by the IUCN. Quote: 'Heavily fished (utilized trawl bycatch) in the southern half of its range. A 96% documented decline in CPUE and a reduction in the mean size of large individuals reported by fishery-independent trawl surveys between 1976 to 1977 and 1996 to 1997 in fished areas near the center of the range. This represents only a quarter of the total range of this endemic, with large areas of its northern range (where the species' abundance is suspected to be lower than in the central and southern parts of its range) remaining untrawled.'

Citation: Pogonoski, J. & Pollard, D. (SSG Australia & Oceania Regional Workshop, March 2003) 2003. Squatina albipunctata. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. <www.iucnredlist.org>.

 

Photographs:

Merimbula, New South Wales.

 

Similar species:

The Australian Angel Sharks overlaps in range between Newcastle NSW and Eastern Victoria. It can be distinguished by its forehead which is convex rather than concave. The eastern angel shark also has generally bolder markings. Divers are far more likely to see Australian angel sharks which live in shallower water than their eastern cousin.

 

Reaction to divers:

Unknown. Probably remains motionless relying on camouflage to avoid detection. Many angel shark species will allow divers to gently waft the sand off of their backs before they decide to bolt.

 

Diving logistics:

Because the eastern angel shark resides in water deeper than 60m, they are rarely if ever encountered by divers.

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