Banded Guitarfish, Zapteryx exasperata: The Banded Guitarfish has an overall brown coloration with irregular blotching and dark bars and the belly has blotches and spots.
Banded Guitarfish have a relatively slender body with the head and the adjoining pectoral fins forming a distinctly broad triangular structure.
The have broad heads and short snouts with a blunt tip (which is a key to identification).
They have a row of thorny projections along the dorsal midline that runs from behind the eyes to the origin of the first dorsal fin.
Banded Guitarfish reach a maximum size of just over 3 feet and are found up to 600 feet deep in the water column over sand or mud bottoms.
Due to the blunt snout Banded Guitarfish cannot be confused with any of the other guitarfishes.
In Mexican fishing waters the Banded Guitarfish has a limited range being found along both coasts of Baja and they are apparently absent from along the coast of the mainland and from around the oceanic islands. Guitarfish are considered harmless to humans.
This fish species is member of the Rhinobatidae Family which are known in Mexico as Guitarras. They are characterized by a large triangular head that incorporates the fused pectoral fins, which tapers to a pointed snout. The eyes are found on the upper surface while the mouth, nostril openings and gill slits are on the undersides. The remainder of the body is shark-like with a pair of similar sized dorsal fins on the back and an asymmetrical caudal fin without a lower lobe. They feed on benthic invertebrates and small fishes and are found demersal (on the bottom and at times partially submerged) over sand or mud bottoms. Offspring are born alive. Guitarfish are considered harmless to humans.
There are a total of three global members of the Zapteryx Genus of which two are found in Mexican waters.