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:
flat, duckbill shaped snout containing incisor shaped teeth. Large eyes.
Prominent, venomous spine at leading edge of dorsal fin. Tapering tail
constitutes almost half overall length. Coloration brown or grey with
white spots. Skin smooth and scaleless. Can give off an iridescent, silvery
sheen. Triangular pectoral fins well developed. Fins grey or dark.
to 97cm in length.
and mud bottoms and sometimes rocky reefs. from 0 to 3000ft.
Abundance and distribution: From
Southeastern Alaska to Central Baja. Common from British Columbia to Northern
slowly across sand in search of prey. Crushes clams, crabs, and shrimp
etc. in forward facing "incisors". Food located primarily by smell.
Uses its pectoral fins for locomotion.
After elaborate courtship rituals the female lays a spoon shaped egg capsule.
The extrusion process can last 18 to 30 hours and the capsule is retained on
thin tendrils for between four to six days until finally caught on the seabed or
planted in the sand.
point ( ratfish), Maple bay (egg capsule), Vancouver Island, Canada.
Reaction to divers: During
the day moves slowly. With patience it is possible to get quite close. Although
able to inflict a mildly toxic wound, it is not aggressive and prefers to
maintain a safe distance.
In British Columbia this Chimaera is quite easy to find. One very nice dive is
off of the Ogden Point breakwater. This is a 1km long jetty that runs away from
shore into about 120ft of water. From about 2/3rds of the way along, the water
is deep enough to support ratfish. To find them simply take a compass
reading away from the breakwater and head directly out into the sand. The
terrain is fairly featureless and unappealing but supports a reasonable number
of ratfish. I have seen about 10 ratfish within a few minutes here at about 80ft
in November. Ogden Point Breakwater has a full service dive shop at its base and
offers air and nitrox fills. The walk out can be a bit challenging in full gear.
The breakwater itself offers excellent shore diving with opportunities to see
wolf eels and giant pacific octopuses. Spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias) may
be encountered at the far end of the breakwater but this area is deep and