Guitarfish, Atlantic


Rhinobatos lentiginosus

Family

Rhinobatidae

Order

Rajiformes

Class

Chondrichthyes

Range

Southeast USA and coastal Gulf of Mexico regions. They can be found from North Carolina to the Yucatan, Mexico and Nicaragua

Habitat

Shallow coastal waters

Life Expectancy

Unknown

Sexual Maturity

Unknown

Diet

In the wild they feed on bottom dwelling molluscs, crustraceans, and small fish. In the zoo they are fed squid, shrimp, and silverside fish.

Status

IUCN - Near Threatened

Behaviors

The Atlantic guitarfish is the smallest species of guitarfish. They are a bottom-dwelling species, spending most of their time in sandy or weedy areas. Although they are a type of ray, their appearance looks more like a mix between a shark, skate, and ray. They have a dorso-ventrally flattened body with two dorsal fins along their tail. Unlike most rays, they do not possess a barb. Atlantic guitarfish swim in a side to side motion using their pectoral fins for propulsion and maneuvering. They are light brown in color with white “freckles” giving them their other common name, Freckled Guitarfish. They can grow up to 30 inches in total length. At birth they are usually around 8 inches in length. Guitarfish are ovoviviparous, meaning they give birth to live young that are fully developed. A guitarfish litter can be as large as 6 pups. Like all elasmobranchs, males possess a pair of claspers at the base of the body where the tail and body meet.

Adaptions

Special Interests

Not all rays have venomous spines, the guitarfish is one species that does not.

Folklore

Conservation

Jacksonville Zoo History

Our Atlantic Guitarfish joined the Jacksonville Zoo collection in 2011.

Exhibit

Stingray Bay