Tasselled Wobbegong [Eucrossorhinus dasypogon]

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The tasselled wobbegong (Eucrossorhinus dasypogon) is a species of carpet shark in the family Orectolobidae and the only member of its genus. It inhabits shallow coral reefs off northern Australia, New Guinea, and adjacent islands. Reaching 1.8 m (5.9 ft) in length, this species has a broad and flattened body and head. Its most distinctive trait is a fringe of branching dermal flaps around its head, which extends onto its chin. The fringe, along with its complex color pattern of small blotches and reticulations, enable it tocamouflage itself against the reef environment.

During the day, the solitary tasselled wobbegong can generally be found lying inside caves or under ledges with its tail curled. Individual sharks tend to remain within a local area and have favored resting spots. While resting, it opportunistically ambushes nearby fishes and invertebrates, and also lures in prey by waving its tail to mimic the appearance of a small fish. At night, it emerges and actively forages for food. This species is aplacental viviparous, though little is known of its life history. The tasselled wobbegong has been reported to bite humans unprovoked; attacks may result from people accidentally disturbing the shark or being misperceived as prey. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed this species as Near Threatened, as outside of Australia it is threatened by fisheries and habitat degradation.

 Pictures: Raja Ampat, Papua, Indonesia by Sami Salmenkivi

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Whitetip reef shark [Triaenodon obesus]

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The whitetip reef shark, Triaenodon obesus, is a requiem shark of the family Carcharhinidae, the only member of the genus Triaenodon.

The whitetip reef shark is one of the most common sharks found in shallow tropical and warm temperate water around coral reefs in the Indian and Pacific oceans. It occurs at depths down to 330 metres (1,100 ft). Snorkelers often encounter these sharks.

As its name suggests, the tips of the shark’s first dorsal fin and upper caudal fin are white. The upper body is grey/brownish. Their average length is about 140 to 160 centimetres (55 to 63 in) and the maximum reported length is 2.1 metres (6.9 ft).[1] Its head is broad and flat.

The whitetip reef shark feeds primarily on crustaceans, octopuses, and fish.

This bottom dwelling shark is nocturnal and is often seen resting on the bottom during the day, sometimes in small groups. It is not aggressive and will generally swim away if disturbed, although it may bite if harassed. At night it hunts among crevices in the reef.

Reproduction is viviparous, with one to five pups in a litter, the gestation period being at least five months. The shark’s size at birth ranges from 50 centimetres (20 in) to 60 centimetres (24 in). It is estimated that this shark can live for about 25 years and it reaches maturity after about five years. (text source: Wikipedia)

Pictures: Gili Islands, Lombok, Indonesia by Sami Salmenkivi

Blacktip reef shark [Carcharhinus melanopterus]

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The blacktip reef shark, Carcharhinus melanopterus, is a shark of tropical and warm temperate seas. It is often confused with the blacktip shark, Carcharhinus limbatus.

One of the most common sharks found in shallow (sometimes as shallow as 30 cm) water around coral reefs of Indo-Pacific waters. The water they swim in is usually between 20 and 27° C (70 to 80º F). Blacktip reef sharks do not venture into tropical lakes and rivers far from the ocean.

As its name suggests, the tips of the shark’s pectoral fins and dorsal fin are black, with a white underside. Its skin is brownish in color on the top half of its body. It has been recorded at up to 2 m (6.5 ft) in length and over 99 lbs (45 kg) in weight.[1] Its snout is blunt and rounded. The gray reef shark looks similar, and is also common, but is distinguished by its stockier and grey body and its lack of a black tip on the dorsal fin.

A blacktip reef shark’s diet consists mainly of reef fish, but they will also feed on rays, crabs, crustaceans, cephalopods, and other mollusks.
[edit]Reproduction, behavior, and interaction with humans

Reproduction is viviparous, with 2 to 4 pups in a litter. Before giving birth, female blacktip reef sharks will incubate their young for 16 months. The pups’ length at birth ranges from 33 to 52 cm.
This species is not considered social, but can be seen in small groups. While generally shy, they often are curious about snorkelers and scuba divers. As with most sharks, the body is bent into a sort of “S” shape when the shark feels threatened. Blacktip reef sharks are harmless unless provoked. Incidents generally involve hand feeding or spear fishing, possibly in combination with low visibility.
The blacktip is one of only a few sharks that can jump fully out of the water, a behaviour called breaching. They have also been observed surfacing to look around (spy-hopping).[2]

Blacktip reef sharks are often the bycatch from other fisheries and are often wasted. Their populations are declining, and so are the population of many other shark species. Their fins are used for shark fin soup which is a major factor in the population decline in recent years.They don’t attack humans. (text source: Wikipedia)

Pictures: Misool Islands, Raja Ampat, Papua, Indonesia by Sami Salmenkivi

Common Eagle Ray [Myliobatis aquila]

Eagle rays (the Myliobatidae family of fish) are a family of mostly large rays living in the open ocean rather than at the bottom of the sea. Eagle rays feed on snails, mussels and crustaceans, crushing their shells with their extremely hard teeth. They are excellent swimmers and are able to jump several metres above the surface.

The taxonomy of this group is uncertain; it is placed either in the order Myliobatiformes or Rajiformes. There are eight genera belonging to the eagle rays: Myliobatis (common eagle rays), Rhinoptera (cownose rays), Pteromylaeus (bull rays), Aetobatus (bonnet rays), Aetomylaeus (smooth tail eagle rays), Californica (bat rays), Mobula (devil rays), and Manta (manta rays). (In some taxonomies the devil rays and manta rays are placed their own family, Mobulidae.) [text source:Wikipedia]

Picture: Towers, Egypt by Sami Salmenkivi