Southern Guitarfish, Rhinobatos percellens (distribution, description and biology)

Credit of the photos: Glenda Vélez Calabria (Colombia) 

Description: Abdel Rahman El Gamal

These photos have been taken in mundo marino and te mostramos lo que pasa en el fondo, Colombia

Introduction: Southern Guitarfish, Rhinobatos percellens is also known as “Chola guitarfish”, or “Guitarra chola” and other names. It seems there is commercial fishery for this species which is often captured as bycatch in commercial and artisanal fisheries in some parts of South America. The reason for that is the inferior quality of fish flesh. However, some of caught fish are salted and consumed in some regions. Aquarium trade utilizes a part of southern guitarfish stocks.

Distribution and habitats: Southern guitar, Rhinobatos percellens is found in Western Atlantic and Eastern Atlantic. The species lives on shallow and soft bottoms of the continental shelf at depths of 0 – 110 m.

Description: The southern guitarfish are characterized by their elongated body as intermediate between those of sharks and rays with a flattened head and trunk and small ray like wings. They have shorter nostrils with no enlarged tubercles on the tip of the snout.  The color is olive gray, reddish brown or chocolate brown above; an extensive pale translucent area on either side of rostral ridges. Darker brown spots or blotches on sides. Their lower surface is pale yellowish, greyish or dusky white while the tip of the snout has a more or less conspicuous sooty blotch, either solid or more or less interrupted. The common total length of guitar fish is about 70 cm and can reach to up to 100 cm as a total length.

Reproduction: The southern guitarfish are Ovoviviparous with embryos feeding initially on yolk, and then receiving additional nourishment from the mother by indirect absorption of uterine fluid enriched with mucus, fat or protein through specialized structures. The mean diameter of the largest oocyte was about 30 mm.  The fecundity ranged from two to 13 embryos (mean of five embryos). Total length of born fish is about 20 cm.

Threats: the species has been placed in the IUCN Red List as “Near Threatened – NT”.  The threat is based on the high exploitation level of the species that resulted in the quantities taken as bycatch in an intense fishing of commercial and artisanal fisheries.

References: Encyclopedia of Life (EOL), Fish Base, Shark Reference, Science Alerts Social Network,

Note: We decided not to watermark the photos in order not to upset its clarity. However, we trust you will notify us if you wish to use a picture or more. This is expected and will be appreciated.

Guitar fish 01 Guitar fish 02

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