While the name "guitarfish," may lead you to think this animal is solely a fish, this isn't the case! The guitarfish are a family of rays (Rhinobatidae). These peculiar animals look like a mash up of shark and ray (a flattened body of a ray; distinct shark features). The range of the species in the Rhinobatidae family varies from tropical, subtropical and temperate waters, as they are pretty cosmopolitan. They can be found in fresh, brackish and marine environments, and also travel in schools, a ray-like characteristic.
In the Rajiformes order, the suborder Rhinobatiformes, there are 4 genera that have 45-46 species.
These animals were first seen in upper Jurassic time period, with the “poster child” of guitarfish being the shovelnose guitarfish.
They are viviparous with yolk-sac, something that isn't unusual for rays (or for sharks, for that matter). Due to their physical structure, they are bottom feeders that tend to munch on worms, clams and crabs. Their IUCN status depends on the species.
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TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
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