Photos: Erwin Dumaguit Facebook

Philippines: Man-sized Guitarfish in Leyte dies after its fin was cut off
By TJ Dimacali, 13th March 2017;

A 10-foot-long (3-meter-long) Guitarfish (Rhinobatos Rhynchobatus) sp., known locally as “arado”) washed ashore in Dulag, Leyte, last weekend and may have been a victim of poaching.

According to a report on GMA News TV’s Unang Balita, the fish’s dorsal fin had been torn off, eventually leading to its death despite residents’ best efforts to return it to the sea.

The IUCN lists several species of Guitarfish as endangered due to overfishing for their prized dorsal fins, which are sought-after to make soup and medicine.

It was not clear as of press time whether the Guitarfish in Leyte was a victim of poaching or if it somehow lost its fin in an accident.

Closely related to Rays and Sharks, Guitarfish are bottom feeders that prey mostly on clams, worms, and other small animals on the sea floor.

Source: GMA News Online

The common name “Guitarfish” often refers to species from the family Rhinobatidae (Rhinobatus sp.) and Glaucostegidae (Glaucostegus sp.). The members of the family Rhinidae (or Rhynchobatidae) are typically known as Wedgefishes (Rhynchobatus sp.). Several species of Wedgefishes are known from the tropical Indo-Pacific; based on the external morphology seen in the photos, this is likely to be a White-spotted Wedgefish (Rhynchobatus australiae).

A giant Shovelnose Ray (Rhynchobatus sp.) was found dead along the shores of Brgy. San Miguel, Dulag, Leyte last 9 March.

Source: Rochie Montano Adolfo Facebook, via Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook

This is a Wedgefish (Rhynchobatus sp.); several species are known from the Indo-Pacific. Based on the external morphology, this is likely to be a White-spotted Wedgefish (Rhynchobatus australiae). The missing dorsal fins might be an indication that it had been finned.