The fish, snakes, lizards and crocodiles found along the tropical seashores!
Split from the family Rhinobatidae (the Wedgefish); together both these families are sometimes known as 'Guitarfish', because of their length and rounded heads. These are bottom dwelling fish with ray like heads and shark like tails.
Glaucostegus typus, 'Common Shovelnose Ray'. Often seen snuffling around in murky shallows. When in shallow water, their distinctive arrangement of fins can be seen, with three fins following each other, two located far back along the body, and the tail tip. This species was apparently the first type of shark/ray that was proven to see in colour.
For evolutionary and taxonomic reasons, the 'reptiles' have been known to be a false group for a long time. The way to represent a true group would be to either enlarge it into a huge and varied class that also included the dinosaurs and the birds, or split the ‘reptiles’ into smaller distinct groups. The former is not suitable given the importance, size and distinctiveness of the Birds as a class in itself. Therefore, the page will take the latter path and represent the following as distinct and true groups: the turtles, the lizards (& snakes), and the crocodilians.
The presence of a scaly, impermeable skin (in contrast to the amphibians) prevents drying out, and allows many species in the reptile groups to live in the marine and seashore environments. It also affords some protection against other animals. Some reptiles, such as crocodiles, even have small sections of bone inside the scale, forming tough osteoderms. Turtles have developed a hard layer of scutes atop the extension of their ribs that comprises their shell. This is still part of the skin, however, and a turtle can thus bleed from damage to the shell.
Eretmochelys imbricata, 'Hawksbill Turtle' hatchling.
Cryptoblepharus leschenault, 'Snake-eyed Skink'. Endemic to the Lesser Sundas of Indonesia.