Bowmouth Guitarfish


Name: Bowmouth Guitarfish

Local name: Herari, Souse

Scientific name: Rhina ancyclostoma

Classification: Class: cartilaginous fishes; Order: skates; Family: bowmouth guitarfishes (Rhinidae)

Size: This species may reach almost 3 m in total length.


The Bowmouth Guitarfish inhabits inshore areas, where it is found on sand, mud bottoms, and near coral assemblages, feeding on bottom-dwelling invertebrates, mainly crustaceans and mollusks. It is ovoviviparous, producing young by means of eggs which hatch inside the parent’s body. There are usually four pups in a litter.


The species has a wide range of distribution throughout the Indo-Pacific from the Red Sea and East Africa to Papua New Guinea, north to Japan, and south to Australia.

Conservation status:

According to the IUCN Red List, it is Vulnerable (VU). It is occasionally caught in gill nets, but of minor commercial importance.


This species is easily recognized by its depressed and broadly rounded head, large pectoral fins, and ridges of thorn-like denticles between the eyes and mid-dorsally. The mouth is curiously undulate, with three projections of the lower jaw fitting into indentations of the upper jaw. The Bowmouth Guitarfish is grey or brownish dorsally, white ventrally, with numerous white spots on the upper surface, including fins, black markings above pectoral fins, and two black bands across the interorbital space. Juveniles are more strongly marked than adults.