Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays) > Rajiformes
(Skates and rays) > Rhinobatidae
(Guitarfishes) > Rhynchobatinae
Etymology: Rhynchobatus: Greek, rhingchos = snout + Greek, batis, -idos = a sting ray (Raja sp.) (Ref. 45335).
Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; brackish; reef-associated; depth range 2 - 50 m (Ref. 30573). Tropical; 35°N - 35°S
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?, range 177 - ? cm
Max length : 310 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 5578); max. published weight: 227.0 kg (Ref. 3919)
A large guitarfish with large black eyespots on the pectoral bases, a distinctive black cross between the eyes, and rows of small white spots on the upper body; snout pointed and lower caudal lobe short (Ref. 5578). Olive-green above, white below (Ref. 5578). Mouths small and contain flattened, pavement-like teeth.
Western Indian Ocean: restricted to the Red Sea and the tropical western Indian Ocean to South Africa. Also reported from Persian Gulf (Ref. 68964). Apparently misidentified with closely related species in the northern and eastern Indian Ocean and western Pacific (however, Ref. 5978 seems to present a reliable record from western Indonesia).
Occurs inshore and in shallow estuaries (Ref. 5578). Feeds on crabs, lobsters, bivalves, small fishes (Ref. 5578) and squids (Ref. 37816). Ovoviviparous (Ref. 50449). Takes crayfish and pilchard bait. Flesh with excellent taste. Fins sought after in Asian markets (Ref. 30573).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Exhibit ovoviparity (aplacental viviparity), with embryos feeding initially on yolk, then receiving additional nourishment from the mother by indirect absorption of uterine fluid enriched with mucus, fat or protein through specialised structures (Ref. 50449). With 4 young, about 43-60 cm in length (Ref. 37816), born in the summer (Ref. 3919).
Compagno, L.J.V., 1986. Rhinobatidae. p. 128-131. In M.M. Smith and P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Smiths' sea fishes. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. (Ref. 3919)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes; aquarium: public aquariums
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5156 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00380 (0.00143 - 0.01012), b=3.11 (2.88 - 3.34), based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.6 ±0.6 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (Fec assumed to be <100).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Very high vulnerability (83 of 100) .