Guitarfishes: Atlantic Guitarfish

Rhinobatos lentiginosus

Atlantic Guitarfish
View Larger Image

Rhinobatos lentiginosus


Guitarfishes have body characteristics similar to both sharks and skates.  The body is dorso-ventrally flattened and the pectoral fins are fused to the head, creating a triangle or heart shaped disc.  The tail is thick ending in a well developed caudal fin, typical of most skates.  Two well developed dorsal fins are present and are located posterior to the pelvic fins.  The combination of the disc shape and thick tail give this fish it 'guitar' like shape (hence the name guitarfish).  No spine on the tail.  Snout is pointed with broad clear areas on both sides.

Found most commonly over sand and mud substrates in shallow coastal waters but reported as deep as 100 feet; occasionally occurs in estuarine and even freshwater habitats.

Thought to feed on fishes and benthic crustaceans and shellfish.

Aplacental viviparity. Up to 6 pups per litter.

Maximum length up to 30 inches.

Human Factors
Non-aggressive species of no danger to humans.

FWC Facts:
Today, smalltooth sawfish are found only in the western Atlantic Ocean from Florida to the Bahamas, including southwest Florida Gulf Coast.

Learn More at AskFWC