The following selection of shark books represents a cross section of the popular literature available on elasmobranch fishes. They are not all necessarily recommended reading but are included to give the reader a somewhat subjective outline of their content. Many of the books are comprehensive enough to warrant inclusion in more than one area but to avoid repetition they are listed where their content is most note worthy. More shark books are slated to be added to the list as soon as I wade through them.

3 elasmos = Excellent (don’t go shark diving without it).

2 elasmos = Worth a read (good shark content).

1 elasmo = Only for shark book junkies.

0 elasmos = One for the chum bucket.

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Shark and Ray Field Guides — Identification

Nigel Marsh and Andy Murch (Creator of

A ‘how-to’ guide written specifically for shark diving enthusiasts. Diving with Sharks covers all aspects of shark diving and photography and includes a large section detailing where to find and dive with most shark species that are accessible to divers.

Sharks and Rays Elasmobranch Guide Hennemann
SHARKS & RAYS Elasmobranch Guide of the World
Ralf M. Hennemann

An extremely comprehensive photographic guide to sharks and rays. The author inludes more species than in most elasmobranch ID guides including numerous rarely seen deep water species, but some of the information is quite outdated. The species accounts are interspersed with interesting anecdotal stories. Although antequated, Hennemann’s book still rates as one of the most complete i.d. books available.

Reef Sharks & Rays of the World
Scott W Micheal

A comprehensive guide to the identification of the most likely elasmobranchs that you will find on the worlds rocky and coral reefs. Reef Sharks and Rays of the World includes a very respectable list of species including lots of rays. Could do with an update.

Freshwater Rays
Richard A. Ross & Frank Shafer. Aqualog.

A valiant attempt to catalog all of the freshwater rays by species and variation. Also included is a basic guide to a selection of sawfishes, guitarfishes and marine stingrays that enter freshwater environments. There are unique descriptions of family differences among the stingrays and many of the species portrayed are not represented in other field guides.

Freshwater Rays contains hundreds of colorful photographs and illustrations and extensive text on each species in German and English. Since publication, this fascinating family has undergone a major taxanomic revision, rendering this particular guide somewhat obsolete, but it is still an interesting read.

Sharks, Skates, and Rays of the Gulf of Mexico
Glenn R. Parsons

University Press of Mississippi. Describes all of the known elasmobranches from the gulf region. The lengthy biology paragraph on each species contains information on diet, sexual maturity, habitat, and the authors personal observations. This style of presentation makes it a little difficult to quickly pull facts off the page but the information is accurate and up to date. Parsons includes the species status (if known) which should help anglers to identify animals at risk from over-fishing and a short section on shark conservation builds on this topic but unfortunately the author is a proponent of shark fishing and the book also contains lengthy chapters on the rudiments of the sport.

Sharks and Rays of Australia
Sharks and Rays of Australia (Second Edition)

A thorough and beautifully illustrated Guide to every Australian elasmobranch and their kin. The first thing you’ll notice is that this guide is truly massive! It is the size of an average picture book but 3 inches thick. Size may not be everything but I couldn’t help being impressed by such a large body of work. The content of this book is equally impressive. Each species account includes detailed notes on identification, range, and habits, of all known sharks, rays, and chimaeras, that have been found to date in Australian waters. The last section of the book contains detailed color plates of each species. The only drawback of this book is that it is too big to carry around on shark trips.

Field Guide to Australian Sharks and Rays
R.K.Daley, J.D.Stevens, P.R.Last, and G.K.Yearsley

A CSIRO Publication. A useful little guide with ranges and descriptions of many common species encountered by anglers around Australia. The photographs are mainly of dead specimens and included with each species is a key indicating how it is usually caught and whether it is the targeted species or bycatch. Also included is interesting information on specimen storage, data collection, and tagging.

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Sharks of Australia
AKA Australian sharks. by G.P.Whitley – 1940

Originally containing drawings and updated with b/w photographs, Whitley’s shark id book is geared towards fishers and has little relevance today. A brief introduction includes information on ‘shark usefulness’, attacks, and diet.

Andrea and Antonella Ferrari – Firefly

124 species descriptions of sharks, rays, and chimaeras plus an overview of elasmobranch biology, evolution, and behavior. Although not as complete some other ID guides this book contains rich photographs of representative species.

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Sharks of Tropical and Temperate Seas
R.H. Johnson – Pisces Books

A fine Identification guide to the sharks of the South Pacific region (Polynesia). Containing in depth information on the behavioral patterns of many local species. The author includes detailed species descriptions that greatly help in the differentiation of many requiem sharks.

Sharks, Rays, and Chimaeras of California
David A. Ebert

University of California Press. A well researched local guide to all species recorded to have visited California waters. Each of the 68 listed species are described in as much detail as is available for the purpose of identification as well as a good overview of behavior and physiology. A very thorough guide.

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Field identification guide to Western Australian Sharks and Shark-like Rays
R. McAuley, D. Newbound, R. Ashworth Dept. of Fisheries, Gov. of W.A.

A useful booklet describing each of the species found in W.A. with representative species drawings and color maps showing specific distributions.

Field Identification Guide to the Sharks and Rays of The Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden
Ramon Bonfil and Mohamed Abdallah. FAO 2004

An extremely thorough guide covering the majority of recognized species present with useful illustrations and photographs to aid in identification. Includes illustrations on teeth variation, eye shape, and snout proportions, as well as overall shape and coloration. The accompanying text is concise but well rounded and includes ID, habital and biology, and fisheries information. Available online as a PDF.

Sharks and Rays of Australia
Kelvin Aitken, New Holland Publishers 1998

TA straight forward guide to the families present in Australian waters. Considering that Australia is so species rich it would be nice to read a more in depth guide to the area. Small but well illustrated.

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Sharks, Skates, and Rays of the Carolinas
Frank J. Schwartz. University of NC Press

A very thorough guide with detailed drawings and some photographs depicting all of the 91 elasmobranch species that have been recorded in North and South Carolinas waters. The section dedicated to deep water skates covers more species than most world guides.

The well written introduction includes a section analyzing the data gathered from local shark attacks.

A very useful local reference book for divers, anglers, and shark fans.

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Sharks and other Predatory Fish of Australia
Peter Goadby – Jacaranda Press 1959

Like most shark and ray field guides of its time, Sharks and other Predatory Fish leans heavily towards shark fishing and the danger posed by supposed man-eaters. One section is entitled ‘Are sharks good to eat’ and in another section attacks by sharks are split into 3 unusual catagories: the curious attack (where the shark simply nibbles at a swimmer), the accidental attack (where the shark gently tears tissue with his teeth), and the ‘fair dinkum’ attack (where the victim is seriously mangled when the sharks drive their teeth into bones and break them off). – great descriptives!

“eikapsels van haaien en roggen”
Peter Bor (in dutch), and published in 1998

This 48 pages book describes the egg-capsules of 11 species of skates and 2 species of catsharks, washed ashore on the Dutch coast.

Shark Diving

Raggie Sanctuary
Chano Montelongo. DeeoBlue Video.

The premise of this book is to describe the habitat, behavior, and diving opportunities around the Ragged-toothed shark (sandtiger) in South Africa. The original Spanish version may be ok but the horrendous translation makes this book very difficult to read. The only useful info concerns the specific sites where elasmos that can be found at in Aliwol Shoal. The book also contains a mediocre DVD.

Red Sea Sharks
Jeremy Stafford-Deitsch. Trident Press.

This guide aimed specifically at divers covers the basics for safe and responsible interactions with the Red Sea ’s common shark species. Jeremy has included many of his spectacular photographs of reef scenes showing requiem sharks in an artistic and non threatening way.

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The Shark Watchers Handbook
Mark Carwardine and Ken Watterson. Princeton University Press

This is an excellent resource for any shark diver. Spanning the worlds recognized shark diving destinations it examines what species can be regularly seen at each site and lists available dive operators. An identification guide is also included for common shark species. Ken is the founder of the Basking shark Society.

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Great Shark Adventures – Marty Snyderman. Key Porter Books. A collection of diving stories compiled by a renowned shark photographer. Drawing heavily from his experiences with his friends Stan Waterman and Howard Hall, Marty often humorously conveys his love of sharks and the oceans.

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Shark Magazines

Dive Magazine
Shark Special

This is an excellent one time compilation of Dive’s previously printed shark articles and new encounters. This issue was published with a DVD containing footage of Dive’s “Top Ten” shark species. Rumor has it that another edition may follow.

Shark Focus
Published by The Shark Trust

An informative magazine/newsletter that illustrates the ongoing work of the Trust and explains the opportunities for involvement. Also included are articles on different aspects of human/shark interactions, shark related current affairs, the plight of specific sharks and rays, and shark information resources. To receive Shark Focus become a member of the Shark Trust.

Sharks & Divers, and Shark Diver
Published by Skin Diver Magazine

Skin Diver produced many supplements in its later years including 3 dedicated to shark diving. Although well received no further supplements were produced. Good reading for shark divers if you can find a copy.

Shark Diver Magazine

Published specifically about the sport of shark diving. Shark Diver contains articles on the best locations for shark interactions around the world and true stories about divers personal encounters with sharks.

Shark Diver Magazine Issue 1

Shark Feeding
Great hammerheads in the Bahamas
Australia’s White sharks
Threshers at Malapascua in the Philippines
Whale sharks in Texas
Africa’s flying White sharks

Shark Diver Magazine Issue 2

Tigers and Bull sharks in Fiji
Greenland sharks in Canada
Erich Ritter on sharks
California sharks leopards, horns, swells, angels, blues, and makos
Bahamas sharks

Shark Diver Magazine Issue 3

Silky sharks in Cuba
Salmon shark tagging in Alaska
Caribbean reef shark profile
Wounded Tiger shark
Bull shark tagging
Stan Waterman’s White shark Encounter

Shark Diver Magazine Issue 4

Lemon shark Aggregations in Florida
Guy Harvey interview
Fooling around with Blue sharks
Reef sharks in Tahiti
Megamouth encounter
West Coast Blue sharks
Bimini Shark Lab

Shark Diver Magazine Issue 5

Great White Heaven – Guadelupe Island
Spiny dogfish at Quadra Island
Palau reef sharks
Galapagos Adventure
Sea of Cortez Whale sharks and Hammers
Bronze whaler shark bait ball
Scalloped Hammerheads in Cocos Island
East Coast Blue sharks

Shark Diver Magazine Issue 6

Identifying Great white sharks
Australia’s Grey nurse sharks
High action White shark cage encounter
Great hammerheads and Tigers
Bull sharks feeding in Fiji
Greenland shark encounter
Threat displays

Shark Diver Magazine Issue 7

Whitetip reef sharks
Wobbegongs in Peril
Oceanic whitetip encounter
Tigers at night
Shark finning
Blue shark bait balls
Cape Town White sharks

Shark Diver Magazine Issue 8

Tiger shark encounter
Smalltooth Sawfish research
Zebra sharks in Thailand
Shark slaughter in Malpelo
Bull Shark encounter
Nurse sharks
Wyland on fear of sharks

Shark Diver Magazine Issue 9

Mozambique Mantas
Bull Shark tagging
How to shoot sharks
Basking sharks in Cornwall
Sandtigers of North Carolina
Whites in South Africa
Tiger shark snorkeling

Shark Diver Magazine Issue 10

Whitetips hunting at night
Galapagos shark slaughter
Holbox Whale Sharks
Sixgill Sharks on Vancouver Island
Catalina Blue Sharks
Guadalupe White Shark Encounter

Shark Diver Magazine Issue 11

Thorntail Stingray encounter in Western Australia
Galapagos Adventure
Tigers and Silvertips in Yap
Tasseled Wobbegongs
Guy Harvey on finning
Bahamas Lemon Sharks
Fossil shark tooth hunting in Cooper River
Bulls and Tigers in Fiji

Shark Diver Magazine Issue 12

Shark Divers
Whale shark festival in the Phillipines
Blacknose sharks and Caribbean Reef Sharks in St Maarten
Prickly Sharks and the DeepSee sub at Cocos Island
Whale Shark Encounter
Cocos Island Baitball
Spiny Dogfish

Shark Diver Magazine Issue 13

SDM takes a more radical approach in this issue by glorifying the extreme aspects of the controversial sport of shark diving.

Oceanic Odyssey – Oceanic Whitetip Encounter in the Red Sea. Good images of an increasingly hard to find shark.
Stranger in the night – a surprise run in with a Scalloped Hammerhead.
Cornish Catsharks – diving with the Lesser Spotted Catshark.
Basker in the Bay – Snorkelling with Basking Sharks in New England
Mako Madness – Cover Story. Tagging Shortfin Makos off of San Diego. Amazing wide angle close-up photography of Makos mouthing the camera.
Niuhi – Free swimming with an enormous Great White Shark in Hawaii.
Life List – 32 extreme experiences that sharks divers could have before they quit. Very radical content.
Looking out from inside the glass – diving in the Houston Aquarium.
Chasing Sharks (part 1) – the making of the upcoming SDM TV show

Shark Diver Magazine Issue 14

12. CAPE COD by Tom Burns
16. GHOST SHARK by Andy Murch
20. HARDCORE SHARK DIVER Featuring Jimmy Hall
26. PHOTO FRUSTRATIONS by Paul Spielvogel
32. AUSTRALIAN SHARKS by Nigel Marsh
38. TIGER IN THE MURK by Ken Steil
42. BEHIND THE LENS with the editor of SDM

Shark Diver Magazine Issue 15

AUSSIE SWELL SHARKS – Nigel Marsh on the Australian Swell Shark or Draughtsboard Shark
THE KILL ZONE – Ian Lauder on South African breaching behavior

Shark Diver Magazine Issue 16

NIGEL MARSH’S- DOWN UNDER SERIES Nigel brings us the tawny nurse shark.
MEG TOOTH HUNTING IN NORTH CAROLINA Woody Tinsley tells the tail about a secret spot in the NC
FISH ROCK. – Andy Murch
NOTES FROM A SHARK JUNKYS JOURNAL Eli on the porbeagle shark
PHOTO FRUSTRATIONS – Paul Spielvogel seeks out bull sharks in Costa Rica
THE ABC’s of SHARK CAGES – Eddie Paul shows us the do’s and don’ts of building your own shark cage
HOLLYWOOD SHARKS – A behind the scenes look at the award winning documentary, SHARKWATER.
LAST WORDS – with SHARKWATER’S director, Rob Stewart.

Shark Diver Magazine Issue 17

-Whale sharks in Sogod Bay, Philippines, by Nigel Marsh
-Tail shots by Walte Heim
-Cousteau’s great white shark, by Eddie Paul
-Great Hammerheads in the Bahamas, by Paul Spielvogel
-Threshers and Oceanics in the Red Sea, by Matt Newell
-Tigers, bulls, lemons in Fiji, by Bill Fisher
-California swell sharks by Andy Murch
-Interview with AirJaws producer, Jeff Kurr
-Notes from the road, Fiji, with Eli Martinez
Cover by Paul Spielvogel

Shark Diver Magazine Issue 18

-Shar-Grey nurse sharks off Sydney, Australia, by Nigel Marsh
-Scalloped Hammerheads off Venice, LA, by Nathan Meadows
-Shark Photography, ‘Handling sharks’, by Andy Murch
-Interview with Lawrence Groth
-Artist profile, Heather Ryan
-Aquarium Diver series, by Janelle Case
-Photographer profile, Ian Lauder
-Greenland sharks in St. Lawrence, Can. by Andy Murch
-Blue sharks off Rhode Island, by Tom Burns
-Producer interview, James Gelet, “The shark is still working” a tribute to the legacy of Jaws.
Cover by Tom Burns

Shark Diver Magazine Issue 19

-Sharks of the South Pacific, by Michael Salvarezza, and Christopher Weaver
-The Money shot. Sandtiger in North Carolina, by David Ulloa
-Oceanics in Bahamas, by Douglas Ebersole
-Whale Shark baitball off Africa, by Felipe Barrio
-Producer profile, with Scott Gurney
-Common angel shark off Canaries, Spain, by Andy Murch
-Whale Sharks off Holbox Island, MX, by Tyler Ham
-White sharks in Guadalupe, MX by Tom Burns
-Aquarium Diver, cat sharks in the North Sea Aquarium, by Ronald Faber

Shark Diver Magazine Issue 20
Shark Diver Magazine Issue 21