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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:

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Shark picture - green sawfish

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LEOPARD ROUND STINGRAY

Leopard Round Stingray

Leopard round stingray spiracle and eye detail

Urobatis pardalis

View all available Leopard Round Stingray Pictures in the Shark Pictures Database

Common Names: Leopard round stingray.

Latin Name: Urobatis pardalis.

Family: Urobatidae.

Identification: Circular body disc. No dorsal fins. Tail shorter than disc length. Total length of body and tail equal to 1.5-1.6 times disc width. Sting present on tail. Dorsum smooth (no tubercles). Colour somewhat variable: base colour grey/tan with irregular dark spots. Underlying dusky blotches often form a subtle honeycomb pattern. Dark spots may be very small or as large as pupil. Spots may merge to form elongated spots and whirls. Ventrum pale. Tail short and stout. Tail spine present. Spiracle length 1.3 to 1.6 times longer than eye diameter. Pupil shade/flap has 3 rounded points. Pupil shade and iris golden or tan.

Size: Maximum recorded length 46cm. Max length will likely be increased after further studies.

Habitat: Intertidal to at least 20m on reefs and sandy substrates (personal observation).

Distribution: Eastern Tropical Pacific. Costa Rica to Columbia.

Behavior: Probably nocturnal. Remains motionless when observed on reefs during the day.

Reproduction: Ovoviviparous.

Conservation Status: Described in 2015, the leopard round stingray has not yet been assessed by the IUCN. From personal observations in Costa Rica and Panama, this species does not appear to be as common as its closely related cousin Urobatis halleri that is abundant in Pacific Mexico and California.

Photographs: Upper image (adult animal) Isla Coiba, Panama. Lower image (juvenile animal) Islas Catalinas, Costa Rica, Tropical Eastern Pacific.

Similar species: The range of Haller's round stingray Urobatis halleri may overlap with that of H.pardalis. These rays are difficult to tell apart because their shape is extremely similar and their markings are highly variable but U.halleri generally displays smaller, more uniform and more closely spaced light and/or dark spots on a diffuse honeycomb background.

Reaction to divers: Easily approached with slow movements.

Diving logistics:

COSTA RICA - I dove with these rays from a dive boat run by Agua Rica Dive Shop out of Tamarindo, Costa Rica. The dive sites around Las Islas Catalinas are also a good place to find schooling Cownose rays, Bulls-eye electric rays and the occasional reef whitetip shark . The dive shops in Playas del Coco (to the north) also run charters to these sites.

PANAMA - I have encountered Leopard round stingrays all around Isla Coiba and at Isla Iguana. Any of the numerous dive centers in Santa Catalina can transport you to Coiba on single and multi-day trips.

Interestingly, in the sheltered lagoon behind Punta Chame this species was absent; being replaced by an abundant population of Urotrygon rogersi.

 

Citations:

Nueva especie del género Urobatis (Myliobatiformes: Urotrygonidae)
del Pacífico oriental tropical
Luis Fernando Del Moral-Flores1, 2, Arturo Angulo3, Myrna I. López3, 4 & William A. Bussing†3, 4

 

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