SOUTHERNMOST RECORD OF A SICKLEFIN DEVIL RAY

January 29, 2016 by Alison Towner, DICT biologist

On Thursday the 21st January a dead stingray at the Blousloep in Franskraal was reported to the Dyer Island Conservation Trust. It had washed up the day before and a photograph was shown to Marine Dynamics manager Hennie Otto who immediately arranged a team to collect the 220kg specimen from the municipal landfill where it had been discarded. After consulting with expert Dr. Andrea Marshall who identified it from photographs as a male Sickle Fin devil ray Mobulid tarpanaca, DICT biologists began dissecting the devil ray the next morning.

The ray initially washed up with two large remora fish attached. Remarkably they were still alive after having been buried and were released back into the ocean by the DICT. The dissection took three hours and involved detailed measurements and sample collections of the skin, muscle tissue, stomach, gill arches and tooth band areas. Devil rays (mobulids) are closely related to the manta rays. This spectacular specimen was the furthest south ever recorded in Africa for its species!

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GREAT WHITE SHARKS ?? AMBUSH HUNTERS OR NOT?

January 21, 2016 by dyertrust

Sex specific and individual preferences for hunting strategy in white sharks.

A recent paper published in Functional Ecology challenges the often-assumed hunting strategy of great white sharks as ambush predators. This is the first white shark research paper to be published in the esteemed British journal. The work took place in Gansbaai – a coastal aggregation site known as the world capital for sighting the species in South Africa. The research was completed by a team of international researchers from the UK, SA, USA and Germany.

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