Fun Giant Guitarfish Facts For Kids

Arpitha Rajendra
Oct 20, 2022 By Arpitha Rajendra
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Tehil David
Read interesting giant guitarfish facts.

The giant guitarfish (Rhynchobatus djiddensis) is also called the whitespotted wedgefish. The giant guitarfish is a large fish species of the family Rhinidae and genus Rhynchobatus.

Rhynchobatus has two Greek elements, rhingcos meaning 'snout' and -idos meaning 'a string ray.' They have a gray or brown colored body with a variety of patterns. There are four closely related species of giant guitarfish.

This species complex includes white-spotted guitarfish, broad nose wedgefish, and smooth nose wedgefish, also including the giant guitarfish. These are called shark-like rays. These fishes with other families of rays are at risk of extinction.

These fish species have slow maturity and growth. They have characteristic gill slit and mouth, which resemble a ray.

While fishing they are caught by demersal tangle net and sometimes by longline fisheries and trawl, impacting their populations. They are also used as game fish and their fins and flesh are sold.

They do well in a public aquarium. Further research and studies need to be done to learn more about their population, range, habitat, and taxonomy. In the meantime, read on for all there is to know about this intriguing species.

You may also like to read about manta rays and bowfins once you're done here.

Giant Guitarfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Giant Guitarfish?

The Rhynchobatus djiddensis is of Rhinopristiformes order. These animals are shy. They are the largest fish species of guitarfish. They have been originated from cartilaginous fishes. They have tooth-like scales.

What class of animal does a Giant Guitarfish belong to?

The Rhynchobatus djiddensis belongs to the Chondrichthyes class of fish.

How many Giant Guitarfish are there in the world?

The data on the exact number of Rhynchobatus djiddensis is not available.

Where does a Giant Guitarfish live?

There is not much information available on their population range. It was previously believed that these species occupied a large part of the Indo-Pacific as they were confused with other species of guitarfish. Recent evidence shows that the population occupies the Red Sea, western Indian Ocean till South Africa, and the Persian Gulf.

What is a Giant Guitarfish's habitat?

The Rhynchobatus djiddensis occupy regions with sandy seafloor at a depth of about 6.6-164 ft (2-50 m). They can be found near coastal reefs and reef flats in shallow waters. They might sometimes move into the brackish water of the estuaries.

Who do Giant Guitarfish live with?

These fish species live on their own or in large schools.

How long does a Giant Guitarfish live?

The data on the lifespan of these species is unavailable.

How do they reproduce?

The reproduction of these species is dioecious. The breeding process is ovoviviparous. The embryos feed on the existing yolk and then they absorb uterine fluid from the mother that contains protein, fat, and mucus. The female produces 4-10 young ones with a size range between 43-60 cm.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of these fish species is Critically Endangered on the IUCN red list. It is believed that the population has been declined due to fishing and exploitation for their fins and flesh.

Their fins are popularly used for shark fin soups. With increasing demand and a slow lifecycle, these species are very vulnerable.

Several fisheries catch them while fishing throughout their habitat range. The population of these animals is found in a range of high fishing areas so, these fishes are the target of several types of gears.

Giant Guitarfish Fun Facts

What do Giant Guitarfish look like?

This fish species has a gray or brown body with a white underside. They have several patterns of white spots. The adult species mostly lack spots on their pectoral fins whereas, the juveniles have black spots.

The eyes are on top of their head and have a dark bar-like pattern between the eyes. The head is elongated and V-shaped.

The gill opens in their underbellies. The caudal, dorsal, and pectoral fins and the posterior part of their body resembles a shark. The teeth are pavement-like, which allows them to crush their food like crabs and lobsters.

The Rhynchobatus djiddensis are restricted to a limited range of habitat in the Indo-Pacific region.

How cute are they?

According to many people, these guitarfish species are not cute.

How do they communicate?

These rays communicate through sound, motions, and colors.

How big is a Giant Guitarfish?

The Rhynchobatus djiddensis size range is 120 in (3.1 m). The female is larger than the male.

How fast can a Giant Guitarfish swim?

The data on their speed is not available. Interestingly, these rays do not use their pectoral fins to swim like most rays but they use tails to swim like a shark.

How much does a Giant Guitarfish weigh?

These ray fish species weigh 500 lb (227 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name given to males or females.

What would you call a baby Giant Guitarfish?

There is no specific name given to the Rhynchobatus djiddensis baby. They can simply be referred to as the young.

What do they eat?

They feed on crabs, small fish, lobsters, bivalves, mussels, crustaceans, and squids.

Are they aggressive?

No. They are not aggressive.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, they would make a good pet. It is difficult to care for these big species. With the right aquarium size, nutrition, and water conditions they live a healthy life.

Did you know...

It was previously believed that these rays were spread all the way to Japan. Only recent studies revealed that they are scattered in the western Indian Ocean.

These rays can catch prey using their head. Once trapped, they make small quick jumps to swallow their food.

The guitarfishes are believed to be the oldest members of rays.

The giant shovelnose guitarfish is viviparous.

Are Giant Guitarfish edible?

The fishing for giant guitarfish is done mainly due to the demand for their flesh and fins. Their fins are used in shark fin soup, a traditional soup of Chinese cuisine. This is one of the reasons for their red list endangered status. So, yes, these rays are edible.

Comparisons with sharks and stingrays

The largest species of the ray family is a Stingray. They can produce venomous stings. The sharks are cartilaginous species. The rays, skates, and sharks are members of the subclass Elasmobranchii.

The shark has gills in the lateral position whereas the stingrays have gills in the ventral position. The body of the sharks is not fused with their head whereas the stingray bodies are merged with the head.

The sharks feed near the surface and rays feed at the bottom of the water bodies. The sharks are known to be fast swimmers whereas the stingrays swim slowly using their pectoral fins, unlike the guitarfishes. The reproduction process of a shark is ovoviviparous but that of a stingray is oviparous.

The Bowmouth guitarfish is a ray that looks like a shark. They are called Shark Ray. These creatures also are listed as Vulnerable.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including spiny dogfish, or giant frogfish.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Giant guitarfish coloring pages.

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Written by Arpitha Rajendra

Bachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

Arpitha Rajendra picture

Arpitha RajendraBachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

With a background in Aeronautical Engineering and practical experience in various technical areas, Arpitha is a valuable member of the Kidadl content writing team. She did her Bachelor's degree in Engineering, specializing in Aeronautical Engineering, at Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology in 2020. Arpitha has honed her skills through her work with leading companies in Bangalore, where she contributed to several noteworthy projects, including the development of high-performance aircraft using morphing technology and the analysis of crack propagation using Abaqus XFEM.

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Fact-checked by Tehil David

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature, Master of Arts specializing in Philosophy and Religious Studies

Tehil David picture

Tehil DavidBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature, Master of Arts specializing in Philosophy and Religious Studies

Tehil David Singh is a fact checker with a Bachelor's degree in English literature from St.Xavier's College, Palayamkottai, and a Master's degree in Philosophy, and Religion from Madurai Kamaraj University. He has a passion for writing and hopes to become a story writer in the future. Tehil has previously interned in content writing and has been a content creator for the last three years. In his personal life, he enjoys singing, songwriting, performing, and writing stories.

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