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
The apron ray has a uniform
pinkish grey body disc with a thin white margin. A curved row of small white
spots extends from the disc margin (at a point level with the eyes) to the rear
body. Indistinct white spots also occur along the sides of the tail. Eyes
small with dark pupils. Two large rounded dorsal fins (fading to white at rear
margin) positioned along tail.
Maximum length 54cm.
Usually found on sand from 5 to 181 meters deep.
Distribution: Temperate South America south of the
In the Eastern Pacific the apron ray is recorded from Peru and Chile. In the
Western Atlantic it is found in Argentina, Brasil and Uruguay. Not reported
around the southern tip of South America so the Atlantic and Pacific
subpopulations appear to be isolated.
Sits motionless on the sand for much of the day.
Feeds mostly on polychaete worms and gammarid amphipods. May incapacitate larger
prey by discharging its electric organs but probably mostly used for defense.
Ovoviviparous. Litter number 1 -
12 but usually 4-5.
Near Threatened. According to the IUCN,
this ray is declining in numbers. From the IUCN: "(The apron ray) is rare in
southern Brazil where it occurs only in small numbers in winter and in Uruguay
captures are also low. In Northern Argentina, biomass measured by research
trawling decreased by 88% in the years 1994 to 1999. However, because there was
an apparent change in the distribution pattern of the species it is impossible
to tell whether this decline was caused by a reduction in population size or
geographic availability of Discopyge mitigated by different hydrographic
conditions. However, given this data and intense fishing pressure across its
range in the Southwest Atlantic it is classified as Vulnerable there. Future
research may result in downgrading the conservation status to Near Threatened or
upgrading perhaps as high as Critically Endangered. In the Southeast Pacific
there is no information on the impact of fisheries bycatch on its abundance and
this population is assessed as Data Deficient. Globally, the species is assessed
as Near Threatened, taking into account its threatened status in the Southwest
Atlantic, where fisheries appear to have caused a rapid and steep population
decline, and an inferred population decline in the Southeast Pacific as a result
of bycatch mortality."
Zapallar Bay, Central Chile.
The only other member of this genus is D.castelloi;
a very similar species known from Brazil and Argentina.
Reaction to divers:
Remains motionless unless approached very closely.
Then, moves away slowly. Like other electric rays, if threatened this ray
probably emits an electric shock.
I have only seen this ray in Zapallar Bay (about 2 hours north of
Santiago) but other divers report sightings along the central coast so it is
obviously quite widespread and relatively easy to find. Sightings are usually on
sand or mixed rocks and sand so if you would like to see this ray, shore-diving
in sandy bays close to Santiago would be an ideal place to start. Most bays are
exposed to surge but the bay at Zapallar is protected from some of the swells.
Park your vehicle on the public beach in the centre of the bay and swim to the
left (south) before submerging. This is also a good spot to locate 'Pinta roca'
aka. Redspotted catsharks.
IUCN Red List
Citation: Massa, A., Hozbor, N. & Lamilla,
J. 2004. Discopyge tschudii. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>