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ANDY MURCH ELASMO GEEK

 

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:

WHAT'S NEW?

Shark picture - green sawfish

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ZEBRA SHARK

zebra shark also known as leopard shark

Photograph copyright Andy Murch. All rights reserved worldwide.

View all available shark and ray images in the Shark Pictures Database

Common Names: Zebra shark, Leopard shark.

Latin Name: Stegostoma fasciatum, Stegostoma varium.

Family: Stegostomatidae

Identification: Body scalloped (with two distinct ridges running from behind head along each flank into caudal fin. Caudal fin almost as long as body. First and second dorsal fins low and long. Pectorals well developed. Body colouration cream, yellow, or greenish yellow, with dense black spots. Juveniles have vertical lines of black on cream. Hence common name. 

Size: Maximum length 3.5m. 25cm at birth. Colouration changes at around 90cm.

Habitat: Inshore and offshore adjacent to reefs. 

Abundance and distribution: Red Sea south to South Africa, west to Indonesia and Samoa and from Japan to Australia.

Behavior: Usually seen resting on the sand or rubble adjacent to reefs during the day. Hunts in same area nocturnally. Feeds on molluscs, crustaceans, and occasionally on bony fishes.  

Reproduction: Oviparous. Up to four purple to brown egg cases are laid at a time. During mating the male bites on to the pectoral fin of the female. Juveniles are rarely seen and probably inhabit waters deeper than recreational scuba allows.

Observations:

Photographs: Koh Bon and the Similan Group.

Similar species:

Reaction to divers: May allow a very close approach if not crowded by divers. Some individuals bolt when in near proximity to divers but occasional specimens remain for extended periods even when touched. This is a good species for photographers. Harmless.

Diving logistics: In Thailand Zebra sharks can be reliably seen at Koh Bon, around Koh Peepee, Hin Maung, The Surin Group, Various locations in the Similans, and other off shore reefs all the way to Burma. Live aboard dive ships leave Phuket daily for the run to the Similans and all other island groups can be reached most of the year. Organising a live aboard is best left until arrival to find a cheap package. Other than this there are many online outfits that are willing to book 1 to 5 day (or more) trips that cover many of the mentioned sites. South Similan Divers operates live aboard dive vessels on permanent station in the Similans and Koh Bon that are serviced by speed boat shuttle daily allowing guests to start and finish their holiday any time they wish. The dive ships can get very crowded especially around Xmas and New year and during other Thai holidays sometimes carrying upto seventy people!

Other diving locations submitted by readers:

An albino Zebra shark photographed by Chris Adams at East Wallabi Island in the Abrolhos Group, Western Australiaz

Further reading:

       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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