Atlanta (November 13, 2007) – Georgia Aquarium introduced a male and female bowmouth guitarfish into the Ocean Voyager exhibit on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2007. The male is approximately 6.5 feet long, and the female is almost five feet long. These unique fish, who receive their name from their guitar-shaped bodies, are housed in only a few facilities in North America. They are often referred to as shark rays because of the combination of physical characteristics from both animals. Georgia Aquarium will be participating in a national and international cooperative study of the bowmouth guitarfish reproductive biology. The animals recently arrived from Taiwan and are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN due to overfishing and habitat destruction.
About the bowmouth guitarfish The bowmouth guitarfish (Rhina ancylostoma) is found throughout east and southeast Asian waters, the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. This distinctive animal is grayish-brown in color with white spots on its dorsal (top) fins and black spots on its head and shoulders. The anterior part of the body and the large dorsal fins create a shark-like appearance. It has a broad rounded snout and a heavy ridge of spiky thorns present above the eye, along the back and on the shoulders that are used as a defensive function. The bowmouth guitarfish is ovoviviparous, meaning it produces eggs that hatch in the female’s body. Its jaws are heavily ridged, with crushing teeth in undulating or wave-like rows, and it feeds mainly on bottom crustaceans and mollusks like shrimp, crabs, and clams. About the Georgia Aquarium The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia, is the world’s largest with more than eight million gallons of water and the largest collection of aquatic animals. The mission of the Georgia Aquarium is to be an entertaining, educational and scientific institution featuring exhibits and programs of the highest standards, offering engaging and exciting guest experiences and promoting the conservation of aquatic biodiversity throughout the world. For additional information, visit www.georgiaaquarium.org. About The World Conservation Union (IUCN) Created in 1948, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) brings together 81 States, 113 government agencies, 850 plus NGOs, and some 10,000 scientists and experts from 181 countries in a unique worldwide partnership. The Union ’s mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable. The World Conservation Union is the world's largest environmental knowledge network and has helped over 75 countries to prepare and implement national conservation and biodiversity strategies. The Union is a multicultural, multilingual organization with 1000 staff located in 62 countries. Its headquarters are in Gland, Switzerland. For additional information, visit www.iucn.org. For more information, contact Communications.