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
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:
Little Skate, Little Common Skate, Little Summer
Latin Name: Leucoraja
猬鳐China Mandarin Chinese
蝟鰩China Mandarin Chinese
snout with pointed central tip. Mildly concave anterior margins of pectoral fins.
Concavity appears to be more prominent in males. Posterior margins of pectoral fins
thorns extend down centre line of back and tail and run across the margin of the
snout. Dorsal pattern includes regular sized dark
spots (polka dots) and larger less frequent dark spots. Overall coloration
brown. Underlying color may be solid or consist of large rounded patches.
No distinct occeli present on pectoral fins
on sand, gravel and mud bottoms occasionally adjacent to rocky reefs. Intertidal to
329m but mostly above 90m.
Abundance and distribution: North
western Atlantic Ocean from the St Lawrence River in
Canada to North Carolina.
seen lying motionless on sand. Forages for a variety of benthic animals such as
Oviparous. 10-35 egg capsules laid annually.
Photographs: Cape Ann Peninsula,
Winter Skate (Raja ocellata) identifiable
by the distinct ocelli (circular black and white eye-like markings) on the
Reaction to divers: Docile. Remains motionless
on the sand unless
closely approached. A slow swimmer unless threatened. Once alerted to the
presence of divers, the little skate usually swims away slowly but makes the
occasional dash followed by a very quick settling in the seabed. In the process
a lot of sand is disturbed which confuses the pursuer as to the skates
whereabouts. This strategy is similar to the way an octopus releases ink as a
There is a dive site off of Back Beach in Rockport on the Cape Ann Peninsula,
Massachusetts, where Little Skates can be seen at certain times of year. I have
encountered them there in September but earlier in the summer the same area was
inhabited by Winter Skates. Diving off Back Beach is a simple matter of walking
in off the beach and kicking out while keeping a close eye on the sand.
Occasionally skates rest on top of the kelp in which case they are far easier to