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30. Shortnose Guitarfish

Zapteryx brevirostris

About

Shortnose guitarfish are endemic to the coasts of southern Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. It is an olive- brown colour with a heart shaped disc and is named after its short snout.

The main threat facing this species is overexploitation by fisheries that operate in their occurrence area within the Brazilian and Argentinian coasts.

Shortnose guitarfish like most elasmobranchs (cartilaginous fishes – skeleton is made of cartilage rather than bone) have low reproductive rates, producing an average of only four to six pups every two years, and so populations are slow to recover. Their reproduction type, alike many rays is aplacental viviparity, meaning eggs inside the female body are supplied with nutrients from yolk and uterine secretions. Parturition appears to occur between April and June every other year.

There is currently no legislation in place for this species, but according to the IUCN, a ban on landings could protect this species from further population declines.

  • Order: Rajiformes
  • Family: Rhinobatidae
  • Population: Unknown
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: 50 – 60 cm (?)
  • Depth Range (m): 10-50m

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 5.80 (?)
ED Score: 81.82 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct

Distribution

This species is found off the coast of southern Brazil, Uruguay and northern Argentina in the Southwest Atlantic Ocean.

Habitat and Ecology

Shortnose guitarfish are demersal species (live close to the floor of the sea) and are found on the inner-shelf. They feed mostly on polychaetes and small crustaceans like amphipodes, varying their diets seasonally and with age. This, makes them selective of the soft bottom upon which forage for food, resulting in increased vulnerability to trawl fishing. Their size appears to differ with latitude, with smaller individuals found towards the northern boundary of their range.

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