Shadow30's picture

DSCN0304 Ui off Isla Margarita 1

Observed: 26th December 2009 By: Shadow30
DSCN0304 Ui off Isla Margarita 1
Description:
Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

the naturalist man's picture

????

OK this has got to be the most obscure photo posted on iSpot mammals yet! Especially as I don't think it is a mammal.

The shape is perfect for a whale shark (therefore should be posted in the fish section of iSPot). I'm looking at the broad,squared off head and body tapering off to a long tail - look on Google I'm sure there will be lots of pictures, they are such slow friendly animals divers love to swim with them. My only concern is the colour, it looks very pale and whale sharks are dark with lots of white spots; I'd expect it to look dark even if you could not see the spots - could it be a trick of the light on the water? Did it look dark? Did you get any idea of the size?

Graham Banwell

Visit the iSpot Yorkshire forum for information on events, issues and news relating to 'God's own country'
http://www.ispot.org.uk/forum/8411

Shadow30's picture

Comments

Sorry, no clear recollections

John

pirayaguara's picture

The size would help Given the

The size would help

Given the location it could be a manatee
Did its fin go up and down (a mammal)or side
to side (a fish)

Tiger sharks also have a blunt chunky look

Shadow30's picture

Comments

Sorry, no further recollections.

John

pirayaguara's picture

Just a rough idea of size ie

Just a rough idea of size
ie long as a man, long as a car, long as a small lorry

Shadow30's picture

Size

Guessing from memory, man would be closest.

John

pirayaguara's picture

Tiger shark is my best guess

Tiger shark is my best guess - lucky you weren't in the water!

the naturalist man's picture

Shark

It is the wrong shape for a manatee, though, tiger shark is a possibility. However, I feel it is too broad in the head and not quite the right size, though that could be due to the distorting effect of the water and glass window.

Are you sure it was man sized? If so it is too small to be either shark. I've flown a lot in small inter-island planes, in fact I had a job photographing grey seals from a specially adapted Piper Cherokee with a camera in a cradle over a hole in the floor. My point is, size is very deceptive from a plane when you have nothing to judge scale.

Most small planes cruise at over 300m over the sea due to the possibility of air turbulence below this, even the shortest flight in the world in Orkney gets above 150m in its 60 seconds as I recall. When photographing the seals we flew at 300m and at this height pups were difficult to see and adults (around the size and shape of a man) were tiny dots. We had to view the large format slides on a magnifying viewer (around X60) to see the pups.

Therefore, were you cruising or coming in to land?
How big did the animal look with the naked eye?
Did you use a large lens to take the photo?

Consider, tiger sharks are around 5m or two-three grown men in length. At cruising height it would look like a very small cigar shaped blob in the water. Whale sharks are around 12m or six-seven men long (ish!). At cruising height you would be able to see some detail of the shape, indeed I doubt you would even notice a tiger shark. When assessing size also consider the distorting effect of the glass and the window, these are likely to make the animal seem smaller than it is.

If you were coming into land, and less than around 30 seconds from touchdown then I'm willing to accept this could be a tiger shark; however, if not I still feel this animal would be too large to be anything other than a whale shark.

Graham Banwell

Visit the iSpot Yorkshire forum for information on events, issues and news relating to 'God's own country'
http://www.ispot.org.uk/forum/8411

pirayaguara's picture

I didn't realise the picture

I didn't realise the picture was taken from an aircraft and assumed it was taken from a vessel or cliff - some idea of the height it was taken from would help.

I think the colour is right for a tiger shark which mature at about three metres (1.5 men) and the shape would be right from an oblique angle - but if it was taken from an aircraft at height Graham is probably correct as the shape is not right for any cetaceans I can think of -the only other creatures that large

the naturalist man's picture

Shark

Ah! I had not thought about it being from land I assumed it was from a plane, something about the look of the waves. If from land then I agree with pirayaguara it is most likely a tiger shark, as they say it is the right colour and the oblique angle would account for the shape.

Graham Banwell

Visit the iSpot Yorkshire forum for information on events, issues and news relating to 'God's own country'
http://www.ispot.org.uk/forum/8411

Shadow30's picture

Shark

OK, to clear up a few points. No long lens was used. Just 12x optical on a Panasonic digital compact. It was taken from an open deck of CS Ocean Village, probably the top deck, so glass is not a factor.
Man-sized was a pure guess.

John

pirayaguara's picture

So that would be from a

So that would be from a hieght of 30-50 metres
Going on cetacean surveys I've been involved on from a large ferry I'd guess about the size of a bottlenosed dolphin 2-3 metres but with the exceprion of the incredibly rarely recorded pygmy and dwarf sperm whales no cetacean fits the picture so I'm still inclined to Tiger Shark

the naturalist man's picture

Tiger shark

Well that has taught me a salutary lesson never assume, always ask!

I agree with pirayaguara this must be a tiger shark from the size, I had assumed you were much further away in a plane, sorry.

I've changed the identification.

Graham Banwell

Visit the iSpot Yorkshire forum for information on events, issues and news relating to 'God's own country'
http://www.ispot.org.uk/forum/8411