Guitarfish
Overview
 
The guitarfish are a family, Rhinobatidae, of rays
Batoidea
Batoidea is a superorder of cartilaginous fish commonly known as rays and skates, containing more than 500 described species in thirteen families...

. The guitarfish are known for an elongated body with a flattened head and trunk and small ray like wings. The combined range of the various species is tropical, subtropical and temperate waters worldwide. They often travel in large schools
Shoaling and schooling
In biology, any group of fish that stay together for social reasons are said to be shoaling , and if, in addition, the group is swimming in the same direction in a coordinated manner, they are said to be schooling . In common usage, the terms are sometimes used rather loosely...

.
Guitarfishes have a body form intermediate between those of sharks and rays. The tail has a typical shark-like form, but in many species the head has a triangular, or guitar-like shape, rather than the disc-shape formed by fusion with the pectoral fin found in other rays.
Nelson's 2006 Fishes of the World recognized four genera in this family: Aptychotrema, Rhinobatos, Trygonorrhina, and Zapteryx; other taxa that were once placed in Rhinobatidae, such as Platyrhinoidis and Rhina
Bowmouth guitarfish
The bowmouth guitarfish, mud skate, or shark ray is a species of ray related to guitarfishes and skates, and the sole member of the family Rhinidae. It is found widely in the tropical coastal waters of the Indo-Pacific region, at depths of up to...

, have since been moved to their own families.
Encyclopedia
The guitarfish are a family, Rhinobatidae, of rays
Batoidea
Batoidea is a superorder of cartilaginous fish commonly known as rays and skates, containing more than 500 described species in thirteen families...

. The guitarfish are known for an elongated body with a flattened head and trunk and small ray like wings. The combined range of the various species is tropical, subtropical and temperate waters worldwide. They often travel in large schools
Shoaling and schooling
In biology, any group of fish that stay together for social reasons are said to be shoaling , and if, in addition, the group is swimming in the same direction in a coordinated manner, they are said to be schooling . In common usage, the terms are sometimes used rather loosely...

.

Description

Guitarfishes have a body form intermediate between those of sharks and rays. The tail has a typical shark-like form, but in many species the head has a triangular, or guitar-like shape, rather than the disc-shape formed by fusion with the pectoral fin found in other rays.

Classification

Nelson's 2006 Fishes of the World recognized four genera in this family: Aptychotrema, Rhinobatos, Trygonorrhina, and Zapteryx; other taxa that were once placed in Rhinobatidae, such as Platyrhinoidis and Rhina
Bowmouth guitarfish
The bowmouth guitarfish, mud skate, or shark ray is a species of ray related to guitarfishes and skates, and the sole member of the family Rhinidae. It is found widely in the tropical coastal waters of the Indo-Pacific region, at depths of up to...

, have since been moved to their own families. Recently, the genus Glaucostegus has again become recognized as distinct from Rhinobatos. The status of Tarsistes is dubious.
  • Genus Aptychotrema
    Aptychotrema
    Aptychotrema is a genus of guitarfish, family Rhinobatidae.-Species:* Aptychotrema bougainvillii * Aptychotrema rostrata...

    Norman, 1926
    • Aptychotrema bougainvillii (J. P. Müller
      Johannes Peter Müller
      Johannes Peter Müller , was a German physiologist, comparative anatomist, and ichthyologist not only known for his discoveries but also for his ability to synthesize knowledge.-Early years and education:...

       & Henle
      Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle
      Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle was a German physician, pathologist and anatomist. He is credited with the discovery of the loop of Henle in the kidney. His essay "On Miasma and Contagia" was an early argument for the germ theory of disease...

      , 1841)
      (Short-snouted shovelnose ray)
    • Aptychotrema rostrata (Shaw
      George Shaw
      George Shaw was an English botanist and zoologist.Shaw was born at Bierton, Buckinghamshire and was educated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, receiving his M.A. in 1772. He took up the profession of medical practitioner. In 1786 he became the assistant lecturer in botany at Oxford University...

      , 1794)
      (Eastern shovelnose ray)
    • Aptychotrema timorensis Last, 2004 (Spotted shovelnose ray)
    • Aptychotrema vincentiana (Haacke
      Wilhelm Haacke
      Johann Wilhelm Haacke was a German zoologist born in Clenze, Lower Saxony.He studied zoology at the University of Jena, earning his doctorate in 1878. Afterwards he worked as an assistant at the Universities of Jena and Kiel...

      , 1885)
      (Western shovelnose ray)
  • Genus Glaucostegus
    Glaucostegus
    Glaucostegus is a small genus of rays in the family Rhinobatidae. It currently consists of three described species.- Species :* Glaucostegus granulatus Cuvier, 1829...

    Bonaparte
    Charles Lucien Bonaparte
    Charles Lucien Jules Laurent Bonaparte, 2nd Prince of Canino and Musignano was a French naturalist and ornithologist.-Biography:...

    , 1846
    • Glaucostegus granulatus Cuvier
      Georges Cuvier
      Georges Chrétien Léopold Dagobert Cuvier or Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric Cuvier , known as Georges Cuvier, was a French naturalist and zoologist...

      , 1829
      (Granulated guitarfish)
    • Glaucostegus halavi (Forsskål
      Peter Forsskål
      Peter Forsskål, sometimes spelled Pehr Forsskål, Peter Forskaol, Petrus Forskål or Pehr Forsskåhl, was a Swedish explorer, orientalist, naturalist and an apostle of Carl Linnaeus.-Early life:...

      , 1775)
      (Halavi ray)
    • Glaucostegus typus Anonymous referred to E. T. Bennett
      Edward Turner Bennett
      Edward Turner Bennett was an English zoologist and writer. He was the elder brother of the botanist John Joseph Bennett. Bennett was born at Hackney and practiced as a surgeon, but his chief pursuit was always zoology...

      , 1830
      (Giant shovelnose ray)
  • Genus Rhinobatos
    Rhinobatos
    Rhinobatos is a genus of fish in the Rhinobatidae family.It contains the following species:* Rhinobatos albomaculatus Norman, 1930 * Rhinobatos annandalei Norman, 1926...

    H. F. Linck, 1790
    • Rhinobatos albomaculatus Norman, 1930 (White-spotted guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos annandalei Norman, 1926 (Annandale's guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos annulatus J. P. Müller
      Johannes Peter Müller
      Johannes Peter Müller , was a German physiologist, comparative anatomist, and ichthyologist not only known for his discoveries but also for his ability to synthesize knowledge.-Early years and education:...

       & Henle
      Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle
      Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle was a German physician, pathologist and anatomist. He is credited with the discovery of the loop of Henle in the kidney. His essay "On Miasma and Contagia" was an early argument for the germ theory of disease...

      , 1841
      (Lesser sandshark)
    • Rhinobatos blochii J. P. Müller
      Johannes Peter Müller
      Johannes Peter Müller , was a German physiologist, comparative anatomist, and ichthyologist not only known for his discoveries but also for his ability to synthesize knowledge.-Early years and education:...

       & Henle
      Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle
      Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle was a German physician, pathologist and anatomist. He is credited with the discovery of the loop of Henle in the kidney. His essay "On Miasma and Contagia" was an early argument for the germ theory of disease...

      , 1841
      (Bluntnose guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos cemiculus É. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire
      Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire
      Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire was a French naturalist who established the principle of "unity of composition". He was a colleague of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and expanded and defended Lamarck's evolutionary theories...

      , 1817
      (Blackchin guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos formosensis Norman, 1926 (Taiwan guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos glaucostigma D. S. Jordan
      David Starr Jordan
      David Starr Jordan, Ph.D., LL.D. was a leading eugenicist, ichthyologist, educator and peace activist. He was president of Indiana University and Stanford University.-Early life and education:...

       & Gilbert
      Charles Henry Gilbert
      Charles Henry Gilbert was a pioneer ichthyologist and fishery biologist of particular significance to natural history of the western United States. He collected and studied fishes from Central America north to Alaska and described many new species...

      , 1883
      (Speckled guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos holcorhynchus Norman, 1922 (Slender guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos horkelii J. P. Müller
      Johannes Peter Müller
      Johannes Peter Müller , was a German physiologist, comparative anatomist, and ichthyologist not only known for his discoveries but also for his ability to synthesize knowledge.-Early years and education:...

       & Henle
      Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle
      Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle was a German physician, pathologist and anatomist. He is credited with the discovery of the loop of Henle in the kidney. His essay "On Miasma and Contagia" was an early argument for the germ theory of disease...

      , 1841
      (Brazilian guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos hynnicephalus J. Richardson
      John Richardson (naturalist)
      Sir John Richardson was a Scottish naval surgeon, naturalist and arctic explorer.Richardson was born at Dumfries. He studied medicine at Edinburgh University, and became a surgeon in the navy in 1807. He traveled with John Franklin in search of the Northwest Passage on the Coppermine Expedition of...

      , 1846
      (Ringstreaked guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos irvinei Norman, 1931 (Spineback guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos jimbaranensis Last, W. T. White & Fahmi, 2006 (Jimbaran shovelnose ray)
    • Rhinobatos lentiginosus Garman, 1880 (Atlantic guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos leucorhynchus Günther, 1867 (Whitesnout guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos leucospilus Norman, 1926 (Grayspottted guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos lionotus Norman, 1926 (Smoothback guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos microphthalmus Teng, 1959 (Smalleyed guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos nudidorsalis Last, Compagno & Nakaya, 2004 (Bareback shovelnose ray)
    • Rhinobatos obtusus J. P. Müller
      Johannes Peter Müller
      Johannes Peter Müller , was a German physiologist, comparative anatomist, and ichthyologist not only known for his discoveries but also for his ability to synthesize knowledge.-Early years and education:...

       & Henle
      Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle
      Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle was a German physician, pathologist and anatomist. He is credited with the discovery of the loop of Henle in the kidney. His essay "On Miasma and Contagia" was an early argument for the germ theory of disease...

      , 1841
      (Widenose guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos ocellatus Norman, 1926 (Speckled guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos penggali Last, W. T. White & Fahmi, 2006 (Indonesian shovelnose ray)
    • Rhinobatos percellens (Walbaum
      Johann Julius Walbaum
      Johann Julius Walbaum was a physician, naturalist and taxonomist. He was the first to describe many previously unknown species from remote parts of the globe, such as the Great Barracuda , the Chum salmon from the Kamchatka River in Siberia, and the curimatá-pacú Johann Julius Walbaum (30 June...

      , 1792)
      (Chola guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos petiti Chabanaud, 1929 (Madagascar guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos planiceps Garman, 1880 (Pacific guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos prahli Acero P & Franke, 1995 (Gorgona guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos productus Ayres
      William Orville Ayres
      William Orville Ayres was an American physician and ichthyologist. Born in Connecticut, he studied to become a doctor at Yale University School of Medicine....

      , 1854
      (Shovelnose guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos punctifer Compagno & Randall, 1987 (Spotted guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos rhinobatos (Linnaeus
      Carolus Linnaeus
      Carl Linnaeus , also known after his ennoblement as , was a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of binomial nomenclature. He is known as the father of modern taxonomy, and is also considered one of the fathers of modern ecology...

      , 1758)
      (Common guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos sainsburyi Last, 2004 (Goldeneye shovelnose ray)
    • Rhinobatos salalah Randall & Compagno, 1995 (Salalah guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos schlegelii J. P. Müller
      Johannes Peter Müller
      Johannes Peter Müller , was a German physiologist, comparative anatomist, and ichthyologist not only known for his discoveries but also for his ability to synthesize knowledge.-Early years and education:...

       & Henle
      Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle
      Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle was a German physician, pathologist and anatomist. He is credited with the discovery of the loop of Henle in the kidney. His essay "On Miasma and Contagia" was an early argument for the germ theory of disease...

      , 1841
      (Brown guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos spinosus Günther, 1870 (Spiny guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos thouin (Anonymous, referred to Lacépède, 1798) (Clubnose guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos thouiniana (Shaw
      George Shaw
      George Shaw was an English botanist and zoologist.Shaw was born at Bierton, Buckinghamshire and was educated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, receiving his M.A. in 1772. He took up the profession of medical practitioner. In 1786 he became the assistant lecturer in botany at Oxford University...

      , 1804)
      (Shaw's shovelnose guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos variegatus Nair & Lal Mohan, 1973 (Stripenose guitarfish)
    • Rhinobatos zanzibarensis Norman, 1926 (Zanzibar guitarfish)
  • Genus Tarsistes D. S. Jordan
    David Starr Jordan
    David Starr Jordan, Ph.D., LL.D. was a leading eugenicist, ichthyologist, educator and peace activist. He was president of Indiana University and Stanford University.-Early life and education:...

    , 1919
    • Tarsistes philippii
      Tarsistes philippii
      Tarsistes philippii is a taxonomically dubious species of guitarfish, family Rhinobatidae. It is known only from a dried head from the Juan Fernández Islands off Chile. The head had a long, thin, flat snout, rounded at the tip like that of the goblin shark, and the underside covered with small...

      D. S. Jordan
      David Starr Jordan
      David Starr Jordan, Ph.D., LL.D. was a leading eugenicist, ichthyologist, educator and peace activist. He was president of Indiana University and Stanford University.-Early life and education:...

      , 1919
  • Genus Trygonorrhina
    Trygonorrhina
    The fiddler rays or banjo sharks are a genus, Trygonorrhina, of guitarfish, family Rhinobatidae. There are two species, found along the eastern and southern coasts of Australia. They are benthic in nature, favoring shallow sandy bays, rocky reefs, and seagrass beds...

    J. P. Müller
    Johannes Peter Müller
    Johannes Peter Müller , was a German physiologist, comparative anatomist, and ichthyologist not only known for his discoveries but also for his ability to synthesize knowledge.-Early years and education:...

     & Henle
    Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle
    Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle was a German physician, pathologist and anatomist. He is credited with the discovery of the loop of Henle in the kidney. His essay "On Miasma and Contagia" was an early argument for the germ theory of disease...

    , 1838
    • Trygonorrhina fasciata J. P. Müller
      Johannes Peter Müller
      Johannes Peter Müller , was a German physiologist, comparative anatomist, and ichthyologist not only known for his discoveries but also for his ability to synthesize knowledge.-Early years and education:...

       & Henle
      Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle
      Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle was a German physician, pathologist and anatomist. He is credited with the discovery of the loop of Henle in the kidney. His essay "On Miasma and Contagia" was an early argument for the germ theory of disease...

      , 1841
      (Southern fiddler ray)
    • Trygonorrhina melaleuca T. Scott, 1954 (Magpie fiddler ray)
  • Genus Zapteryx
    Zapteryx
    Zapteryx is a genus of fish in the Rhinobatidae family.It contains the following species:* Zapteryx brevirostris * Zapteryx exasperata...

    Jordan
    David Starr Jordan
    David Starr Jordan, Ph.D., LL.D. was a leading eugenicist, ichthyologist, educator and peace activist. He was president of Indiana University and Stanford University.-Early life and education:...

     & Gilbert
    Charles Henry Gilbert
    Charles Henry Gilbert was a pioneer ichthyologist and fishery biologist of particular significance to natural history of the western United States. He collected and studied fishes from Central America north to Alaska and described many new species...

    , 1880
    • Zapteryx brevirostris (J. P. Müller
      Johannes Peter Müller
      Johannes Peter Müller , was a German physiologist, comparative anatomist, and ichthyologist not only known for his discoveries but also for his ability to synthesize knowledge.-Early years and education:...

       & Henle
      Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle
      Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle was a German physician, pathologist and anatomist. He is credited with the discovery of the loop of Henle in the kidney. His essay "On Miasma and Contagia" was an early argument for the germ theory of disease...

      , 1841)
      (Lesser guitarfish)
    • Zapteryx exasperata (D. S. Jordan
      David Starr Jordan
      David Starr Jordan, Ph.D., LL.D. was a leading eugenicist, ichthyologist, educator and peace activist. He was president of Indiana University and Stanford University.-Early life and education:...

       & Gilbert
      Charles Henry Gilbert
      Charles Henry Gilbert was a pioneer ichthyologist and fishery biologist of particular significance to natural history of the western United States. He collected and studied fishes from Central America north to Alaska and described many new species...

      , 1880)
      (Banded guitarfish)
    • Zapteryx xyster D. S. Jordan
      David Starr Jordan
      David Starr Jordan, Ph.D., LL.D. was a leading eugenicist, ichthyologist, educator and peace activist. He was president of Indiana University and Stanford University.-Early life and education:...

       & Evermann
      Barton Warren Evermann
      Barton Warren Evermann was an American ichthyologist. He was born in Monroe County, Iowa, and graduated from Indiana University in 1886. For 10 years, he served as teacher and superintendent of schools in Indiana and California. He was professor of biology at the Indiana State University in...

      , 1896
      (Southern banded guitarfish)

Further reading

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