The Guitarfish Family – Rhinobatidae
Speckled Guitarfish, Rhinobatos glaucostigma, a representative member of the Guitarfish or Rhinobatidae Family.
The fish of the Guitarfish or Rhinobatidae Family, known collectively in Mexico as guitarras, are a group of marine fish found in shallow and deep waters of all temperate and tropical seas. They are small to moderately-sized fish. The family consists of 45 global species placed in seven Genera, two of which are residents of North American waters of the Atlantic and seven are in the Pacific.
The Guitarfish range in size from 50 cm (20 inches) to 280 cm (9 feet 2 inches), however, the majority are under 1 meter (39 inches) in length. They have large triangular-shaped flattened heads that are fused with the pectoral fins and taper to a pointed or narrowly rounded elongated snout. Their eyes and spiracles are on the upper surface; their small mouth with small molariform teeth, large nostrils, and gill slits are on their blind side. Their body is elongated with a pair of equal size and relatively large dorsal fins on the top of their large thick tail. Their first dorsal fin originates behind their pelvic fins which have a single and moderately expanded lobe. Their caudal fin lacks a lower lobe.
The Guitarfish are found over and within soft sandy and muddy bottoms where they can bury themselves while resting. They feed on benthic invertebrates and small fish. Reproduction is viviparous via yolk sac with litter sizes ranging from 4 to 28; reproduction cycles require about a year.
The Guitarfish are caught primarily as a by-catch of benthic fisheries. At present five species are considered Near-Threatened and nine are considered Vulnerable, one being Critically Endangered and two being Endangered. The vast majority of catches are returned to the sea but some are retained and made into fish meal.
There are four members of the Guitarfish or Rhinobatidae Family, all from Mexican waters of the Pacific, presented in this website: