White-spotted (Bottle-nosed) Wedgefish Rhynchobatus australiae

White-spotted (Bottle-nosed) Wedgefish
White-spotted (Bottle-nosed) Wedgefish
The White-spotted Wedgefish above is native to the Indo-Pacific Oceans from East Africa to Taiwan and Australia. It grows to some 3 metres (10 feet) long. Often called the White-spotted Guitarfish, the Rhynchobatus genus are technically Wedgefish, related to the Guitarfish. The first dorsal fin is between the pelvic fins on wedgefish and much nearer the tail on guitarfish. It is also correctly called the Bottle-nosed Wedgefish, but its common name of White-spotted, shared with several other relatives, persists.
White-spotted (Bottle-nosed) Wedgefish
White-spotted (Bottle-nosed) Wedgefish
One such relative is the Giant Guitarfish, Rhynchobatus djiddensis, also called the White-spotted Guitarfish/Wedgefish, native to the western Indian Ocean, Red Sea and Persian Gulf. It also grows to 3 metres but has far more rows of white spots. Juveniles of both have a black spot above the pectoral fins which fades to a dusky ring on adults. The djiddensis has a shadow bar on its head between the eyes which no other relative has. The australiae, above, usually has a row of 3 white spots above the shadow ring and two below; all other spotted relatives have a ring of 3-5 white spots encircling the black shadow or eyespot. Both are critically endangered, especially by fishing, particularly for fins for the Asian shark fin soup market.
Two smaller relatives have similar common names: the White-spotted Guitarfish, Rhinobatos albomaculatus of the eastern Atlantic, growing to 75cm long and the Spotted Guitarfish, Rhinobatus punctifer of the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, reaching 90cm.