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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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SPINNER SHARK

Spinner shark

View all available spinner shark pictures in the Shark Pictures Database

Common Names: Spinner shark.

Latin Name: Carcharhinus brevipinna

Family: Carcharhinidae

Identification: Snout laterally pointed. Well developed labial furrows. Eyes small and round. Interdorsal ridge absent. Dorsum grey with indistinct white line on flank. Ventrum white.  Distinct and boldly delineated black tips on all fins except pelvic and upper caudal. Anal fin more 'hooked' than in most large reef sharks. Angular torso with well defined lateral line. Teeth narrow cusped.

Size: Maximum length 278cm. Size at birth 60-75cm.   

Habitat:  Continental coastlines from inshore to edge of shelf. Surface waters to bottom at 75m. Also above surface when breaching! 

Abundance and distribution: Western Atlantic from Carolinas to Gulf of Mexico. Also southern Brazil. Occasional Caribbean and northern Brazil. Eastern Atlantic around western Africa and Southern Mediterranean Sea. Around perimeter of Indian Ocean from Madagascar to South Africa. Also India, South East Asia and Australia. North Pacific Japan and Philippines.

Behavior: Known to undertake mass migrations; aerial footage of enormous schools of spinner sharks off of eastern Florida have been used by the media to exaggerate the dangers of beach swimming. When feeding, vertical upward attacks on surface fish sometimes lead to spectacular spinning jumps from the water, hence common name.

Diet: consists mainly of bony fishes but some stingrays and cephalopods are also consumed.

Reproduction: Viviparous. Yolk sac placenta. Recorded litter size 3 to 15. Litter size increases with size of female.

Photographs: Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana, USA.

Similar species: Because of its extensive range it is difficult to list every carcharinid shark that looks somewhat similar to Carcharhinus brevipinna. Field identification is difficult but the spinner shark's highly laterally pointed head, distinct black fin tips (except anal and upper caudal) and unique breaching behavior are a good place to start.

Reaction to divers: The spinner shark is very hard to approach. Although it is commonly seen by fishermen when breaching, it quickly moves away when divers enter the water. The grainy image above was taken from a distance while surface snorkeling with a large school of silky sharks. Two spinners were attracted by the chum slick but they refused to approach the bait and stayed far below the much bolder silkies.

Video from Western Australia indicates that spinner sharks grow much more aggressive around bait balls and may ignore divers completely.

IUCN Red List status: Near threatened. Vulnerable to fishing pressure and habitat degradation.

Diving logistics: Please email elasmodiver with information on sites where scuba diving or snorkeling with spinner sharks is possible.

References and further reading:  

Sharks of the world. Leonard Compagno.

Fishbase.com

 

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