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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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SOUTHERN STINGRAY

 

Southern Stingray

View all available Southern Stingray Images in the Shark Pictures Database

Common Names: Southern stingray.

Latin Name: Dasyatis americana.

Family: Dasyatidae.

Identification: Rhomboid disc. Deep ventral tail finfold. Row of tubercles running from base of head to partway along tail. Two much shorter rows of tubercles visible behind eyes. One or two stinging spines present on base of tail. Dorsal surface uniform brown to gray often darkening slightly near margin of disc. Ventral surface white.

Size: Maximum disc width 1.5m.

Habitat: Intertidal to 25m. Inhabits sandy areas and reefs.

Abundance: Common in Florida and Northern Caribbean waters. Sightings less frequent in its broader range.

Distribution: Florida and Caribbean, also north to New Jersey and south to Brazil.

Behavior: Often seen by divers sleeping or cruising over sand patches near reefs, stopping occasionally to dig for animals in the sand. Eats a variety of small fish, mollusks and crustaceans. Lies at rest covered by sand with just eyes protruding. If stepped on by a diver or attacked by its natural predator the hammerhead shark, it will sting over its head like a scorpion.

Reproduction: Ovoviviparous.

Observations: These stingrays are easily conditioned to accept the presence of hundreds of humans. At Stingray Sandbar on Grand Cayman, I observed the daily feeding ritual where large boats bring hoards of tourists to swim and snorkel with the rays. There is one unsubstantiated report from 2001 in which a large hammerhead ventured into this busy scene and plucked a stingray out from amongst the screaming tourists.

Photographs: Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Similar species: The Caribbean stingray (Himantura schmardae) shares much of its Caribbean range with the Southern stingray but is easily distinguished by its more oval disc and lack of fin-folds on its tail.

Reaction to divers: Remain motionless or continues to forage unless closely approached

Diving Logistics: The southern stingray is such a commonly sighted species near reefs that it is unnecessary to describe specific opportunities to locate it. However Stingray City in Grand Cayman probably has the greatest opportunities for any diver to interact with and photograph Southern Stingrays. Whilst working on the island as a submersible pilot I was lucky enough to have access to this site on numerous occasions. Upon entering the water here, and at the shallower Stingray Sandbar (for snorkellers), the diver is immediately surrounded by silky skinned rays that rub past you nuzzling with their mouths in search of a handout.

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