Names: Bowmouth guitarfish,
Bow-mouthed angel fish, shark ray.
Contains 2 genera and about 5 species. The genus Rhina is mono-specific.
Unmistakable. Broadly rounded snout. Conspicuous rows of enlarged dermal denticles forming
armor-like ridges between eyes and
along centre line of back. Dorsal fins large and shark-like. Well developed
caudal fin. Pectoral fins more distinct than in other sharkfin guitarfish.
Dorsum predominantly brown or grayish with a covering of well defined light
spots from mid-line of pectoral fins to caudal fin. Spots more prominent in
juveniles. Juveniles also have vaguely teardrop shaped ocelli on each side of body inline with their pectoral
fins. Mostly absent in adults. Ventrum white. Teeth ridged.
Maximum length 3 meters. Length at birth 45cm. Max recorded weight 135kg.
Rocky and coral reefs, sand
and mud bottoms.
Intertidal to about 90m. Often close inshore 1-20m.
and distribution: A wide ranging
Indo-Pacific species. The bowmouth guitarfish can be found at the western extent
of its range from the Red Sea south through East Africa to as far south as South
Africa. It's eastern limit extends from Japan in the north to Papua New Guinea
and New South Wales.
Generally swims near substrate over sand or reef in
search of prey but it is also occasionally seen swimming high up in the water
Diet: Feeds mainly on bottom dwelling
crustaceans and mollusks - crabs, shrimp and clams.
Ovoviviparous (yolk sac viviparity). litter size 4.
IUCN Red List Status:
Vulnerable. Often caught by shrimp fishermen where its large size makes it
difficult to release intact. Also occasionally caught on long-lines. Directly
targeted for the flesh of its pectoral fins which are the only parts of the
animal that are consumed.
species: The bowmouth guitarfish's
unique body shape makes it virtually impossible to confuse with other
sharks or rays. It's closest
relatives; the giant guitarfishes, have a reasonably similar profile when viewed
from the side but exhibit the classic pointed snouts of guitarfish when viewed
to divers: Difficult to approach
in the wild
logistics: Occasionally encountered by divers throughout its range.
Images exist from encounters with this animal in the Andaman Sea and in
Australia. Information on areas where bowmouth guitarfish are commonly seen
would be welcome.
and further reading:
Sharks and Rays of the World. Scott W. Michael. Sea Challengers.
Sharks and Rays. Elasmobranch Guide of the World. Ralf M.
Other names of the Bowmouth
Names may not display correctly if
non-english scripts are not installed.
Bow-mouthed angel fish,
Cá Giống mõm tròn
Shinonome sakata zame
Shortnose mud skate