Not just a
huge collection of
Elasmodiver.com contains images of sharks, skates, rays, and a few
chimaera's from around the world. Elasmodiver began as a simple web
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.
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
wide rhomboid disc. Prominent brow with flattened, pointed snout. Very long,
whip like tail (often broken off part way). Dorsum black, bluish, or gray,
covered with small white spots. In some individuals the white spots can be
slightly larger with black centers. The species is apparently under review and
may be divided in the future. Ventrum pale.
span to 200cm. Max 250cm. Nose to tail (when complete) max 500cm.
reef faces and sand flats (where it feeds). Also open ocean. Intertidal to 24m.
seen in Florida and Caribbean.
the Atlantic coast from Virginia to Brazil. Circumtropical.
to school in some areas. It feeds by scooping its flattened snout through the
sand. Preys mainly on mollusks.
Conservation Status: the spotted eagle ray is listed as
'NEAR THREATENED' by the IUCN. Females bear a maximum of four pups/litter after
a gestation period of probably a year. These limited biological parameters, the
species' inshore habitat and hence availability to a wide variety of inshore
fishing gear (beach seine, gillnet, purse seine, benthic longline, trawl etc.),
its marketability and the generally intense and unregulated nature of inshore
fisheries across large parts of the species' range warrant a global listing of
Near Threatened, and a Vulnerable listing in Southeast Asia where fishing
pressure is particularly intense and the species is a common component of
landings (future declines of >30% are expected, if they have not already
occurred). With further data it will likely fall into a threatened category in
other regions also. For example, although specific details are not available,
pressure on the inshore environment through artisanal fishing activities off
West Africa, eastern Africa, throughout the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and
in large portions of the species? American range has likely affected this
species. There is nothing to suggest that pressure will decrease in these
regions in the future. In a few parts of its range (e.g., South Africa, the
Maldives, the USA and Australia) the species faces lower levels of threat, but
overall, pressure on the species is high and likely to cause population
depletions. Management and conservation measures considering harvest and trade
management need to be implemented immediately.
- Grand Cayman. Bottom - Isla Iguana, Panama.
Recent genetic evidence suggests that the spotted
eagle ray should probably be split into at least three species. All of which are
extremely similar but are separated by slight morphometric differences and
Reaction to divers:
shy and hard to approach. The best way I have found to get close to these rays
is to sneak up on them from behind when feeding.
Caicos Island (part of the Turks and Caicos chain) reportedly has schooling
eagle rays on a regular basis. South Caicos is a remote location and best
reached by liveaboard, but for land based access try Grand Turk rather than
Providenciales. Eagle rays are occasional visitors to many areas that divers
frequent in the Caribbean. I have not been lucky enough to find the ‘mother
load’ yet, but the walls of Grand Cayman are fairly well stocked.