Bowmouth Guitarfish (Rhina ancylostoma)
or “Shark Ray”
In honor of this past shark week and shark fest, here is one of my favorite chondrichthyes (class of cartilaginous fish). The bowmouth guitarfish is a type of large ray that lives in tropical waters anywhere from South Africa to Western Australia. These large, heavy fish can grow up to about 9 feet and weigh about 300 lbs. The dorsal skin is covered in small, rough bumps, and in some areas, thick thorns.
These are mostly nocturnal hunters, feeding on bony fish, crustaceans and mollusks. It uses the rounded bands of flattened teeth to crush the shells and bodies of its prey.
This ray is vulnerable due to shark finning, over fishing, bycatch, and sport fishing. Some fishermen kill them because their large thorny bodies can cause damage to their nets.
Please help raise awareness of over fishing and finning of all species. You can help conservation!