Friday, 7 October 2011

Giant Guitarfish

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Order: Rajiformes
Family: Rhynchobatidae
Genus: Rhynchobatus
Species: Rhynchobatus djiddensis
Common Name: Giant Guitarfish

The giant guitarfish is a species of guitarfish, belonging to the family Rhynchobatidae, which can be found in the Red Sea and the tropical western Indian Ocean.

Giant guitarfish Habitat
They live in varying depths of 2-50 meters, usually in areas with sandy sea floor. These areas are mainly located near reef flats or coastal reefs, however the Giant Guitarfish is also known to venture into the brackish waters of estuaries.

Giant guitarfish Description
The Giant Guitarfish is quite large, reaching a maximum length of 3.1 meters (10.1 feet) and a maximum weight of up to 227 kg (500 pounds). They have big black eyes on their pectoral bases with a black cross-like shape between them. Their snout is pointed while their mouth is really small featuring small pavement teeth, which means that the teeth are flattened and arranged side by side like the tiles in a pavement, making them virtually harmless to humans.

Their body is olive-green on the above, and white below. Like most guitarfishes, they have a human-like face on their "belly".

Giant Guitarfish Reproduction
They are ovoviviparous (embryos develop inside eggs which are retained within the mother until they hatch) animals, with females giving birth to up to 10 individuals.

Giant guitarfish Diet
Their diet mainly consists:
  • Bivalves
  • Crabs
  • Lobsters
  • Squids
  • Various small types of fish
Giant Guitarfish Conservation Status
Currently they are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN red list. It is believed that their populations have greatly reduced during the past years probably due to hunting for their flesh and fins.

A note to readers
I couldn't find any info about what exactly the face on their "belly"  is for. If you know please comment!

Giant Guitarfish Video

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  1. I think that this animal is really cool looking and awesome

  2. the face is used for detection of prey using both smell and electrical impulse - much the same way that rays and skates do. If i am correct, i think guitars fish are closely related to rays and sharks and use electrical current more than other predatory fish.

  3. I think the "face" is its mouth and two gills. Manta rays are the same way.