Towards the end of July a Dive Instructor from one of our sister dive centres, in Ari Atoll, came back from a dive with an amazing sighting – a Bowmouth Guitarfish. This amazing creature was spotted by Instructor Damon and his student on her first open water dive! The Guitarfish swam towards the divers along the edge of the reef, allowing Damon to capture the moment on his camera.
Guitarfish are docile creatures, from the ray family known as Shark Rays, found in the Indo-Pacific to depths of 90m. Bowmouth Guitarfish are extremely rare and classed as vulnerable by the IUCN. The main predator of Guitarfish are Tiger Sharks but commercial fishing in some areas of the world also poses a threat as they are caught for their meat and fins.
This strong swimming Shark Ray can reach lengths of 2.7m. They feed on smaller bony fish, crustaceans (like crabs) and molluscs (like clams). Similar to other tropical species of sharks, Guitarfish give birth to a litter of live young. Normally Bowmouth Guitarfish are sighted lying on the sandy bottom close to reefs making this sighting an exceptional one!