One of the least understood and most threatened groups of elasmobranchs is the Rhinopristiformes, the guitarfishes, wedgefishes, and sawfishes. Numbering more than 60 species, this order includes a high percentage of Critically Endangered and Endangered species, as designated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. There is a dearth of data on these species due to sightings being infrequent and unpredictable. Globally, Rhinopristiformes are both directly targeted for their meat and large fins and are caught as bycatch in their near-shore habitats. We report here a consistent and predictable long-term presence of the Critically Endangered bowmouth guitarfish (Rhina ancylostomus) in the Gulf of Tadjoura, Djibouti. This species has been reliably encountered during diving and whale shark research activities (November-February) over seven seasons, indicating long-term site fidelity of R. ancylostomus within the area. Currently receiving minimal legal protection and facing unknown fishing pressures and ecological risks, these animals and their habitat should be prioritized for research and conservation.

Annual Recurrence of the Critically Endangered Bowmouth Guitarfish (Rhina ancylostomus) in Djibouti Waters

Boldrocchi G.
Primo
;
2023-01-01

Abstract

One of the least understood and most threatened groups of elasmobranchs is the Rhinopristiformes, the guitarfishes, wedgefishes, and sawfishes. Numbering more than 60 species, this order includes a high percentage of Critically Endangered and Endangered species, as designated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. There is a dearth of data on these species due to sightings being infrequent and unpredictable. Globally, Rhinopristiformes are both directly targeted for their meat and large fins and are caught as bycatch in their near-shore habitats. We report here a consistent and predictable long-term presence of the Critically Endangered bowmouth guitarfish (Rhina ancylostomus) in the Gulf of Tadjoura, Djibouti. This species has been reliably encountered during diving and whale shark research activities (November-February) over seven seasons, indicating long-term site fidelity of R. ancylostomus within the area. Currently receiving minimal legal protection and facing unknown fishing pressures and ecological risks, these animals and their habitat should be prioritized for research and conservation.
2023
Gulf of Aden; Indian Ocean; Rhina ancylostomus; guitarfish; ray; rhino rays; shark; wedgefish
Boldrocchi, G.; Robinson, D.; Caprodossi, S.; Mancuso, E.; Omar, M.; Schmidt, J. V.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11383/2174091
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