Giant guitarfish (Whitespotted wedgefish)
Distribution and Habitat
- It is a large species of guitarfish restricted to the Western Indian Ocean from the Red Sea to the Eastern Cape in South Africa.
- It is a shy fish, found from 2–50 m depth, inhabiting areas with sandy sea floor like coastalreefs or reef flats, but they will sometimes venture into the brackish waters of estuaries.
About the fish
- Maximum size – 3.1 m; Weight 227 kg.
- It is brownish or greyish above with a variable pattern of white spots, white below.
- Snout is pointed and there is a dark, bar-like pattern between the eyes, which separates it from the other Rhynchobatus species in its range.
- Mouths small and contain flattened, pavement-like teeth.
- A large guitarfish has large black eyespots on the pectoral bases.
- Lower caudal lobe is short.
- It is ovoviviparous, and a female can give birth to litters of up to 10 young.
- The giant guitarfish feeds on bivalves, crabs, lobsters, squid and small fish.
- In the IUCN red list, it is listed as Vulnerable.
- The fish population have been declined significantly due to the high levels of exploitation for its flesh and fins.
- Its low fecundity and presumed slow growth rate make it highly vulnerable to unsustainable exploitation.