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Global status of wedgefish and guitarfish

Bottlenose wedgefish, Raja Ampat, Indonesia. Photo: Arnaud Brival



Global status of wedgefish and guitarfish


Cartilaginous fishes of the Order Rhinopristiformes (‘rhino rays’) represent one of the most threatened groups of animals in the world. The majority of species (72%) are considered threatened with extinction according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Overfishing and unregulated trade in their fins, meat, and other products has driven wide-scale population declines.


Rhino rays comprise five families of shark-like rays found in coastal and continental shelf waters across the globe. Sawfishes (Family Pristidae) have been the focus of considerable research and conservation effort in the last decade due to a heightened understanding of their conservation status. The non-sawfish rhino rays have more recently came into focus as their status has been shown to be as dire as that of the sawfishes.


The giant guitarfishes (Glaucostegidae; 100% Critically Endangered) and wedgefishes (Rhinidae; 90% Critically Endangered) are amongst the most severely threatened vertebrate families. Extinction risk is also elevated in the guitarfishes (Rhinobatidae; 66% threatened) and banjo rays (Trygonorrhinidae; 38% threatened). This Special Issue of ESR brings together a collection of papers from the inaugural American Elasmobranch Society (AES) Global Wedgefish and Guitarfish Symposium (in November 2021), which presented the latest research perspectives on these 4 families of rhino rays.


Articles belonging to this Special will be published upon completion in the respective volume of ESR. They will be listed below as well as on the contents page of the respective volume of publication.


For questions, contact Christine Paetzold (Managing Editor) .


Organizers: David Ebert, Paula Carlson, Peter Kyne

Editors: Peter Kyne, David Ebert, Paula Carlson, Charlie Huveneers, Brendan J. Godley


Status: Submissions closed



Karnad D, Barnes A, Mukherji S, Narayani S, Jabado RW

Fisher insights into rhino ray status, utilisation, and conservation at five major fishing harbours in India

ESR 53:49-66 | Full text in pdf format


Aitchison RM, Ebert DA, Séret B, Weigmann S

Review of three southwestern Indian Ocean species of Rhinobatos (Rhinopristiformes: Rhinobatidae)

ESR 53:67-87 | Full text in pdf format


Al Hameli S, Bruns S, Henderson AC

NOTE: Notable abundance of two Critically Endangered elasmobranch fishes near an area of intensive coastal development in the Arabian Gulf

ESR 53:89-95 | Full text in pdf format


D’Alberto BM, Clark-Shen N, Xu Tingting K, Green ME, Hutchinson N, Chin A, Simpfendorfer CA

Preliminary life history of the Critically Endangered bottlenose wedgefish Rhynchobatus australiae from Southeast Asia

ESR 53:363-378 | Full text in pdf format


Groeneveld MJ, Klein JD, Bennett RH, Abdulla AS, Bond ME, Ebert DA, Fernando SM, Gledhill KS, Jaquemet S, Kiszka JJ, Macdonald AHH, Mann BQ, Nevill J, Price AS, Rumbelow J, Sitoe JJ, van Staden M, Wueringer BE, Bester-van der Merwe AE

Population genetic structure of bottlenose and whitespotted wedgefishes from the Southwest Indian Ocean using a dual marker approach

ESR 53:409-427 | Full text in pdf format


Hanna J, Hazeres J, Wilson R, Snyder Koch S

Observations of reproductive behaviors in the Critically Endangered bowmouth guitarfish Rhina ancylostoma

ESR 53:429-438 | Full text in pdf format


Gonzalez-Pestana A, Alfaro-Shigueto J, Velez-Zuazo X, Mangel JC

Natural history, fisheries, and conservation of the Pacific guitarfish: signs of trouble in Peruvian waters

ESR 54:123-140 | Full text in pdf format