Banded Guitarfish
Guitarra Rayada
(Zapteryx exasperata)

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.

Distribution in Mexico fishing areas

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.

Banded Guitarfish picture

Banded Guitarfish picture

Banded Guitarfish picture

Banded Guitarfish, Zapteryx exasperata: Caught out of 100-foot water, 100 yards from shore on a live sardine in April 2011, about 10 miles north of Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S., Mexico, into the Sea of Cortez. Size 85 cm (33.5 inches). Description and photos courtesy of John Snow.

Banded Guitarfish picture

Banded Guitarfish picture

Banded Guitarfish picture

Banded Guitarfish, Zapteryx exasperata: Female. Caught off El Tule, Km. 17, in the greater Los Cabos area, B.C.S., Mexico, in April 2011. Length 85 cm (33.5 inches). Photos courtesy of John Snow.

Banded Guitarfish fish picture 1

Banded Guitarfish fish picture 2

Banded Guitarfish, Zapteryx exasperata: Provided by the commercial fishermen while fishing in the greater Los Cabos area, Baja California Sur, Mexico. December 2010. Size 17 cm (7 inches). Photos courtesy of John Snow.

Banded Guitarfish fish picture 3

Banded Guitarfish fish picture 4

Banded Guitarfish fish picture 5

Banded Guitarfish fish picture 6

Banded Guitarfish, Zapteryx exasperata: Provided by the commercial fishermen of the greater Los Cabos area, Mexico. May, 2010. Size 75 cm (29.5 inches). Description and photos courtesy of John Snow.

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