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
Little Skate, Little Common Skate, Little Summer
Latin Name: Leucoraja
猬鳐China Mandarin Chinese
蝟鰩China Mandarin Chinese
snout with pointed central tip. Mildly concave anterior margins of pectoral fins.
Concavity appears to be more prominent in males. Posterior margins of pectoral fins
thorns extend down centre line of back and tail and run across the margin of the
snout. Dorsal pattern includes regular sized dark
spots (polka dots) and larger less frequent dark spots. Overall coloration
brown. Underlying color may be solid or consist of large rounded patches.
No distinct occeli present on pectoral fins
on sand, gravel and mud bottoms occasionally adjacent to rocky reefs. Intertidal to
329m but mostly above 90m.
Abundance and distribution: North
western Atlantic Ocean from the St Lawrence River in
Canada to North Carolina.
seen lying motionless on sand. Forages for a variety of benthic animals such as
Oviparous. 10-35 egg capsules laid annually.
Photographs: Cape Ann Peninsula,
Winter Skate (Raja ocellata) identifiable
by the distinct ocelli (circular black and white eye-like markings) on the
Reaction to divers: Docile. Remains motionless
on the sand unless
closely approached. A slow swimmer unless threatened. Once alerted to the
presence of divers, the little skate usually swims away slowly but makes the
occasional dash followed by a very quick settling in the seabed. In the process
a lot of sand is disturbed which confuses the pursuer as to the skates
whereabouts. This strategy is similar to the way an octopus releases ink as a
There is a dive site off of Back Beach in Rockport on the Cape Ann Peninsula,
Massachusetts, where Little Skates can be seen at certain times of year. I have
encountered them there in September but earlier in the summer the same area was
inhabited by Winter Skates. Diving off Back Beach is a simple matter of walking
in off the beach and kicking out while keeping a close eye on the sand.
Occasionally skates rest on top of the kelp in which case they are far easier to