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ANDY MURCH BIO

 

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 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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SPOTTED STINGAREE

Photograph copyright Andy Murch

View more Spotted Stingaree Pictures in the Shark Pictures Database

Common Names: Spotted stingaree

Latin Name: Urolophus gigas

Family: Urolophidae

Identification: Disc round without prominent point on snout. Roughly circular, light grey, broken spots create a pattern  covering most of the black or darker dorsum. Usually dark in front of eyes, and centrally behind eyes extending into two dark patches on real half of pectoral fins. Pattern of spots extends along tail. Two color forms from the eastern and western range may be distinct species. Sinclair's stingaree (urolophus sp.) may be the western color form, a  juvenile of the U. gigas, or a distinct species.

Size: Maximum length approx 70cm.

Habitat: 2 - 50m. Often seen buried in sandy sea grass areas. The specimen above was deeply hidden under a rocky reef.

Abundance and distribution: Southern Australia, from Victoria and Northern Tasmania to at least Albany, WA. 

Behavior: Buries during the day.

Reproduction: Ovoviviparous.

Observations:  

Photographs: Albany, Western Australia.

Similar species: Circular stingaree - Urolophus circularis shares its western range. A rarely encountered species exibiting a distinct pattern of circular spots similar to U. gigas and Urolophus sp. but without their dark bat-shaped patches.

Reaction to divers: The specimen above completely ignored the photographer but this species may be more skittish when encountered in the open.  

Diving logistics: Divers usually encounter this species while swimming over sea grass beds. Anywhere in the southern Australian area is probably good for sightings. As I have only encountered this specimen in WA I would like information on common sighting areas further east.

Other diving locations submitted by readers:

References and further reading:

Sharks and Rays of Australia. Peter Last. CSIRO.

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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