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Temporal range: Upper Jurassic–Recent
Shovelnose guitarfish.JPG
Shovelnose guitarfish, Rhinobatos productus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Order: Rhinopristiformes
Family: Rhinobatidae
J. P. Müller & Henle, 1837

The guitarfish are a family, Rhinobatidae, of rays. 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.


Guitarfish 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 fins found in other rays.[2]


Guitarfish are ovoviviparous; the embryo matures inside an egg inside the mother until it is ready to hatch. This is typical of rays.


Guitarfish are bottom feeders, which bury themselves in mud or sand and eat worms, crabs, and clams.[3] Some can tolerate salt, fresh, and brackish water.[4] They generally live close to the beach/coastline or in estuaries.[4]


Nelson's 2006 Fishes of the World recognized four genera in this family: Aptychotrema, Rhinobatos, Trygonorrhina, and Zapteryx; other taxa once placed in the Rhinobatidae, such as Platyrhinoidis and Rhina, 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.


  1. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2011). "Rhinobatidae" in FishBase. February 2011 version.
  2. ^ Stevens, J.; Last, P.R. (1998). Paxton, J.R.; Eschmeyer, W.N., eds. Encyclopedia of Fishes. San Diego: Academic Press. p. 66. ISBN 0-12-547665-5. 
  3. ^ "Shovelnose guitarfish, Sandy Seafloor, Fishes, Rhinobatos productus at the Monterey Bay Aquarium". Monterey Bay Aquarium. Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Sullivan, Taylor. "FLMNH Ichthyology Department: Atlantic Guitarfish". Florida Museum of Natural History. Florida Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Last, White & Fahmi 2006 (2006). "Rhinobatos jimbaranensis and R. penggali, two new shovelnose rays (Batoidea: Rhinobatidae) from eastern Indonesia.". Cybium. 30 (3): 262ff. 
  6. ^ Peter R. Last; Leonard J.V. Compagno; Kazuhiro Nakaya (2004). "Rhinobatos nudidorsalis, a new species of shovelnose ray (Batoidea: Rhinobatidae) from the Mascarene Ridge, central Indian Ocean". Ichthyological Research. 51 (2): 153–158. doi:10.1007/s10228-004-0211-0.