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WHAT IS ELASMODIVER?

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 photography.

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:

WHAT'S NEW?

Shark picture - green sawfish

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LESSER SPOTTED CATSHARK

Photograph copyright Andy Murch all rights reserved.

ENLARGED IMAGE            MORE LESSER SPOTTED CATSHARK IMAGES

View all available Lesser Spotted Catshark Pictures in the Shark Pictures Database

Common Names: Lesser spotted catshark, Lesser spotted dogfish, Smallspotted catshark/dogfish.

Latin Name: Scyliorhinus canicula

Family: Scyliorhinidae  

Identification: Covered in many small dark (or occasionally light) spots. Dorsum usually has 8 to 10 dark patches forming dusky saddles. Second dorsal fin marginally smaller than first dorsal. No nasal barbells. Broad nasal flaps extend to mouth.

Size: 1 meter maximum. 10cm at birth.   

Habitat:  Rocky reefs and sandy or muddy shorelines. Intertidal to 400m. 

Abundance and distribution: Eastern Atlantic from Norway to the Ivory Coast of West Africa.

Behavior:  Remains motionless during the day and hunts actively at night for molluscs.    

Reproduction: Oviparous. The male wraps his body completely around the female during copulation. The egg capsules are laid in pairs and the female then swims around the reef until the eggs snag on a suitable piece of substrate. 18-20 may be laid during each breading season. I have had reports of many pairs of dogfish congregating around shallow sites near the Lizard Peninsula at the beginning of June.

Observations:

Photographs: Porthkerris bay and Helford River, Cornwall, UK.  

Similar species: Greater spotted catshark (Scyliorhinus stellaris) distinguished by larger leopard-like spots.

Reaction to divers: Will allow a reasonably close approach but depending on the individual will bolt once he diver approaches within a meter or so. Some individuals refuse to move even when nudged or lifted.

Diving logistics: This is a common species along the UK coast and is frequently encountered on dives. The west coast is probably the best place to find them in great numbers. I have seen them whilst shore diving from Porthkerris, in Helford River, and on the isle of Skomer in Pembrokeshire. Contact Porthkerris Divers for further information.

Other diving locations submitted by readers

References and 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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