Other Names: Bowmouth Guitarfish, Mud Skate.
Family: Rhinidae, the Wedgefish family.
Size: To 2.7 m
Distribution: Though they are very rare, the Shark Ray has a wide distribution in the coastal tropical waters of the western Indo-Pacific.
Status: Critically endangered.
Habitat: Usually found near the sea floor, the Shark Ray prefers sandy or muddy areas near underwater structures.
About the Shark Ray
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has assessed the Shark Ray as Critically endangered in 2019, delisted from the vulnerable category, along with many other guitarfish species. It's threatened by fishing and by habitat destruction and degradation, particularly from blast fishing, coral bleaching, and siltation. Its numbers are known to have declined substantially in Indonesian waters, where it is one of the large rays targeted by a mostly unregulated gillnet fishery.
The IUCN has given this species a regional assessment of Near Threatened in Australian waters, where it is not a targeted species but is taken as bycatch in bottom trawls. The installation of turtle excluder devices on some Australian trawlers has benefited this species.
Since it is rare, and faces many conservation threats, the Shark Ray has been called "The Panda of the aquatic world".
Diet: It is a strong-swimming predator of bony fishes, crustaceans, and molluscs.