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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 15:17 EDT

Shovelnose Guitarfish

The Shovelnose Guitarfish (Rhinobatos productus) is a species of ray that is found in Pacific waters from central California down to the Sea of Cortez. It can be found, sometimes in large numbers, over sand or mud sand bottoms in colder, shallow coastal waters. This fish is also known as the Shovelnose Shark, Pointed-nosed Guitarfish, and simply Guitarfish.

The body of the guitarfish is depressed and gradually tapers into the tail. The snout is somewhat long and rounded at the tip. The top of the fish is gray, which fades and gets lighter on the underside. It is unique among other fish in its species, as it has a tail fin and two dorsal fins. Its sharp pointed nose is also unique among other guitarfish species. The largest shovelnose on record is 5 feet 1.5 inches long, and weighs 40.5 pounds.

The diet of the Shovelnose consists of crustaceans, worms and clams. They have been seen feeding on sand crabs in water less than 3 inches deep. They sometimes become stranded on the beach by receding tides and waves and must wiggle their way back into the water. Shovelnose Guitarfish bear live young, and the female can produce litters of up to 28 fish at one time. Mating takes place in the summer months and the young are not born until the following year in the Spring or early Summer. The young are much like the adults in appearance, yet they are only 6 inches long.

These rays are fished for their flesh, especially the tail and back straps. Fishermen catch them in the surf, in bays, and from piers. They will take almost any live or dead bait including clams, mussels, and sand crabs.

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Shovelnose Guitarfish