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Underwater Photo of the Week - December 10, 2018

Caribbean Reef Shark Silhouette

POTW December 10, 2018

 

Hi Gang!

This week’s POTW is a silhouette of a Caribbean reef shark that I was able to capture in 2004 at Stuart Cove’s in the Bahamas. You might be wondering why, with all of the diving I do, I would select an image that I created back in 2004. One reason, is that many of the slides that I created before I made the change from film cameras to digital cameras have been damaged or have not been scanned. But a digital image captured almost 15 years ago looks the same today as it looked in 2004.

A second reason, I selected this photograph is that it was created with a camera that produced RAW files that were a mere 5.3 megapixels. That number is laughable today, and I believe it is now exceeded by some phones. But my camera was a top of the line Nikon in its day. Certainly, modern day cameras produce cleaner files with more megapixels, but the fact that this image remains useful helps me make the point that while you might choose to use top of the line camera systems for a variety of reasons, they are not absolutely necessary to produce usable image.

With regard to the content, the Caribbean reef shark, Carcharhunus perezi, is one of the more commonly encountered sharks in the Caribbean and surrounding waters. A muscular, impressive looking shark, it is a featured species at many of the highly publicized shark feeds in the Bahamas and Florida.

The bodies of Caribbean reef sharks are gray or gray-brown with a white underbelly. They possess a blunt, somewhat rounded snout and a rather stout body. Sexually maturity is not attained until individuals are roughly a length of seven feet, and some Caribbean reef sharks grow to a length of ten feet. Additional identifying features of Caribbean reefs sharks include their long, narrow pectoral fins and the darker edges of the tail and anal fins.

Caribbean reef sharks are typically encountered in surface waters close to shore. Usually they inhabit areas close to coral reefs, and they occasionally roam along reef walls to down to a depth of roughly 100 feet.

Like many sharks, Caribbean reef sharks tend to be sexually segregated, but that is not the case at many of the popular shark feeding sites. Females bear four to six live pups at a time. Juveniles spend the first several years in the protected waters of the mangroves where they hone their hunting and survival skills. Life in their early years can prove to be extremely challenging. While the mangroves offer plenty of hiding places, these areas are also filled with potential predators that range from other species of sharks to large predatory fishes such as groupers.

I hope you enjoy this week’s POTW!

See you next week,

Marty

See you next week,