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Sharks, Rays, and Chimaeras of California

David A. Ebert
Illustrated by Mathew D. Squillante
Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 297
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  • Book Info
    Sharks, Rays, and Chimaeras of California
    Book Description:

    This guide is the only complete reference to the sharks, rays, and chimaeras found in California's waters- from the intertidal zone to 500 miles offshore.Species accounts give information on habitat and range, natural history, interactions with humans, nomenclature, and further references 68 beautiful color illustrations show each shark, ray, and chimaera; accompanying line drawings highlight differences in teeth, underside of the head, and egg cases Includes information on the California marine environment, ecology and conservation, and shark biology

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93656-0
    Subjects: Zoology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    L. J. V. Compagno

    Sharks, Rays, and Chimaeras of Californiais the sort of book that I wish I’d been able to write when I was living in the San Francisco Bay Area. One of my former doctoral students has done so instead, producing a work that is a major step forward in the annals of shark research in California. The scientific and semipopular literature on the sharklike fishes of California is remarkably scattered, limited, and uneven, and many of the species are sketchily known taxonomically, morphologically, and biologically. This is the first work dedicated to the subject in a half century, and it...

    (pp. xi-xii)
    David Ebert
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    (pp. 1-48)

    This field guide to California’s sharks, rays, and chimaeras—collectively known as the chondrichthyans or cartilaginous fishes—is the first in more than 50 years devoted exclusively to this fascinating group. The last comprehensive guide to California’s chondrichthyan fauna was published in the California Department of Fish and Game’s Fish Bulletin series by Phil Roedel and William Ripley (no. 75, 1950). Since then, several guides to the eastern North Pacific fishes have been published (Eschmeyer et al. 1983; Hart 1973; Miller and Lea 1972), but their usefulness has been hampered by their cursory treatment of the fauna, inadequate illustrations, or...


      (pp. 50-58)

      The order of cow and frilled sharks comprises two families, four genera, and five to six species of moderate-sized to very large sharks; both families, three genera, and three species occur in California waters. These sharks are unique in that they are the only species to combine six or seven paired gill slits, a single dorsal fin, and an anal fin. The hexanchoids are usually considered one of the most primitive groups of modern-day sharks. They are a very poorly known group and one that has frequently been overlooked in favor of more diverse and better known shark species. Although...

      (pp. 59-75)

      The dogfish sharks are the second largest shark order with seven families, 23 genera, and at least 100 species described worldwide. The number of species described is expected to increase with continued exploration of the deep sea. Five families representing five or six species occur off the coast of California. The dogfishes are a morphologically diverse group that contains some of the smallest as well as some of the largest known shark species. This diverse order is characterized by two small to moderately large dorsal fins usually preceded by a spine; no anal fin; a short to moderately long preoral...

      (pp. 76-80)

      The angel sharks,which comprise a small, undiverse order, are all included in a single family and genus. There are 15 species recognized worldwide with several others awaiting formal description. A single species occurs along the California coast. This group has adapted to bottom living to such a degree that the bodies of its members appear raylike in form with a mottled dorsal surface and large pectoral fins that extend over the gill slits. Unlike rays, however, in which the gill slits lie completely on the ventral surface and the pectoral fins are fused to the head, the gill slits of...

      (pp. 81-86)

      The horn or bullhead sharks are a minor shark group with one family and a single genus of eight similar looking species. These are the only living sharks with a spine preceding each dorsal fin and an anal fin. Horn sharks are small- to medium-sized with a stout body, tapering posteriorly from a broad, blunt head; a short piglike snout; a broad crest over each eye; and a short transverse mouth with small cuspidate teeth in front and enlarged flattened crushing teeth in the rear. Some species are reported to reach 1.65 m, but most are less than 1 m...

      (pp. 87-91)

      The carpet sharks are composed of seven families, 14 genera, and 31 to 34 species, one of which occasionally occurs in California waters. These are small to giant sharks with one species, the Whale Shark, being the largest living fish on earth. Carpet sharks can be distinguished by a short to truncated snout with a terminal or subterminal mouth connected to the nostrils by prominent na-soral grooves; distinct barbels on the inner nostril edges; two spineless dorsal fins; and an anal fin. Many members of this shark group have rather striking color patterns. These are tropical to warm-temperate sharks found...

      (pp. 92-124)

      The mackerel sharks are a small but diverse group containing seven very distinct families, 10 genera, and about 16 species of large oceanic and coastal sharks; six families, eight genera, and 11 species are found in California waters. Superficially, each of these shark families appears to be unique and perhaps unrelated, as this group contains such bizarre species as the goblin shark,with its acutely pointed snout; the giant filter-feeding megamouth shark; and the thresher sharks,with their elongated caudal fins nearly as long as their entire body trunk. The members of this order, however, are all united by a number of...

      (pp. 125-179)

      Worldwide the ground sharks are the dominant, most diverse, and largest shark group, comprising eight families, 49 genera, and at least 225 recognized species. Four families, representing 11 genera and 18 to 20 species, are found in California waters. Some species, such as the Blue Shark, are among the most common sharks in California waters, but many are transient, visiting only when the water temperature warms up during summer months or during extreme El Niño events. The order is characterized by sharks with two spineless dorsal fins, five paired gill slits, a nictitating lower eyelid to protect the eyes, a...

      (pp. 180-236)

      Worldwide the rays, or batoids, are the largest shark group comprising 22 families, 71 genera, and at least 543 recognized species, a number most likely to increase to over 600 as new species are described. Ten families, representing 12 genera and 22 species, occur in California waters. Some species are quite common in California waters, while others are transient visitors occurring only when the water temperature warms up during summer months or during extreme El Niño events.

      The guitarfishes (Rhinobatidae) and thornback rays (Platyrhinidae), each being represented by a single family in California waters, can be characterized by a broadly...

      (pp. 237-243)

      The chimaeras, or ratfishes, are a small, primitive group of chondrichthyans, all of which occur within a single order composed of three families, six genera, and at least 50 known species. The number of species within this group is likely to increase as at least 15 species are currently undescribed, including two from California waters. Two families and at least four species are known from California waters. The chimaeras are readily identified by their elongated tapering body; filamentous, whiplike tail; smooth scaleless skin; large venomous dorsal fin spine; winglike pectoral fins; and open lateral line canals, which appear as grooves...

    (pp. 244-246)
    (pp. 247-250)
    (pp. 251-256)
    (pp. 257-258)
    (pp. 259-274)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 275-284)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 285-286)