Advancing research and conservation
Promoting citizen science
Using your EYES to make a difference
Female and male elasmobranchs can easily be distinguished!
You can tell the difference between the two sexes by the presence OR absence of claspers. As shown in the pictures to the left, females have a cloacal opening while males have two claspers situated between the pelvic fins on the ventral side. The claspers on juvenile elasmo species can be very small and easily missed. If you can get a picture for confirmation, it would really help to determine if there are differences in male and female ratios in seasonal catches or in the distribution of certain species.
The Arabian Seas have a magnificent marine environment and you never know when you may spot a shark or ray! You can now be our underwater explorer and help us map wildlife to inform decision-making, education and research. By gathering information on species changes at dive sites through time, we can deduce if there has been a change in the populations or community structures. Pictures taken need to show the whole body of the animal but please do not disturb the animals and keep a safe distance from them. The best pictures for identification are side images of sharks and top views of rays or guitarfishes.
With the quantities of elasmos found daily at the markets and landing sites in the region, it would be impossible to get pictures of all specimens. But if you can, you should get a picture of the whole body of the animal to help with identification. This is very important since partial pictures may not allow for proper differentiation between species similar in appearance. Pictures of the underside of the head can also help confirming species that look alike. Finally, to help estimate the size, it would be useful to place an object in the picture for comparison (measuring tape, pencil...) alongside the body of the animal. If you are submitting multiple pictures, keep a blank shot between images to help distinguish between the different specimens.
I understand that on submission of this form, I will have voluntarily donated the above data to Dr. Rima W. Jabado and the Gulf Elasmo Project for ongoing work to identify and gain a better understanding of elasmobranchs distribution in the Arabian region.
Now you can make a difference and be our eyes in the field. You can submit information on your encounters with or sightings of sharks, rays, guitarfishes, sawfishes and skates in the region to help collect scientific data, raise awareness about Arabian elasmobranchs and support management decisions. Your reports and sightings can be recent or historical. Populations of most elasmobranch species in the region are in decline so all information is invaluable and can help!
Use the below submission form to upload your underwater images or your elasmo sightings from landing sites, markets, supermarkets... You can either submit an individual .jpeg picture, pictures in a Word document, .pdf or compressed files such as .zip if you have many pictures. Please try and be as specific as possible and include all the information you have of the animal with descriptions by using the fields below. We require your name and email in case we need to contact you for clarifications regarding your submissions. This data will be analysed and used to gain a better understanding of the species composition of elasmobranchs in this region as well as those most targeted by fisheries. By submitting the information and the photographs, you are giving us permission to use them. However, the photographs will always remain yours and you will be credited if they are used.