Rhinobatos lentiginosus 

Scope: Global

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Rajiformes Rhinobatidae

Scientific Name: Rhinobatos lentiginosus
Species Authority: Garman, 1880
Common Name(s):
English Freckled Guitarfish, Atlantic Guitarfish

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2004-06-16
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Casper, B.M., Burgess, G.H. & Shepherd, T.
Reviewer(s): Kyne, P.M. & Valenti, S.V. (Shark Red List Authority)
The Freckled Guitarfish (Rhinobatos lentiginosus) has a wide distribution in the southeast USA and coastal regions of the Gulf of Mexico, from North Carolina to Yucatán, Mexico and also Nicaragua. A shallow coastal species from inshore to 30 m on sandy and weedy bottom types. In some regions, for example Texas, it appears to be only seasonally and locally common. Little biological information is available for the Freckled Guitarfish. It reaches 76 cm TL and has a low fecundity (mean of 6.6 young/litter in the USA). Its narrow inshore habitat is susceptible to human impacts. It is taken as bycatch in bottom shrimp trawls in the Gulf of Mexico and occasionally by recreational fishers. Shrimp trawl fishing is intense in the Gulf of Mexico, particularly in shallow waters where this species occurs, with four to five million trawl hours annually. Although data from trawl surveys on the eastern coast of the USA (1989-2005) showed no trend in the population of this species, trawl and longline surveys in the northern Gulf of Mexico (1972-2002) recorded it in only very low numbers, with the last record in 1994. Rhinobatids are known to be vulnerable to population depletion as a result of their limiting life-history characteristics and serious declines have been documented where they are heavily fished. Given that demersal fishing pressure is very intensive throughout the southern part of this species range and its limiting life-history characteristics, it is given a precautionary assessment of Near Threatened on the basis of inferred declines as a result of continuing high levels of exploitation (close to meeting the criteria for VUA2d+4d). Collection of further data from throughout this species range is a priority.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Southeast USA and coastal regions of the Gulf of Mexico from North Carolina to Yucatán and Nicaragua (Sánchez 1997, McEachran and Carvalho 2002).
Countries occurrence:
Mexico (Campeche, Morelos, Veracruz, Yucatán); Nicaragua (Nicaragua (mainland)); United States (Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – western central; Atlantic – northwest
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):30
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Hensley et al. (1998) reviewed the literature and unpublished data, concluding that the species may be relatively rare along the Texas coast, and is only seasonally common at a few locations. This contrasts with Walls (1975) who stated that the species was locally common in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Bigelow and Schroeder (1953) state that Florida is the species' centre of abundance. Details of seasonal movements are not known although the species appears to display seasonality at least along the Texas coast (Hensley et al. 1998).

Analysis of research surveys conducted in the Gulf of Mexico and along the eastern coast of the USA show no trend for this species. This species was captured in every year that data is available for in the southeast USA SEAMAP survey (from North Carolina to Florida) from 1989-2005. The trend in abundance was not significant (144 individuals were captured in 44 surveys tows, out of a total of ~4223 survey tows sampled) (Shepherd and Myers unpublished data). Only four individuals were recorded during four years, one per year in the northern Gulf of Mexico shrimp trawl fishery survey and demersal longline fishery (1972-2002). This species was last recorded in 1994 (Shepherd and Myers 2005).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Coastal species recorded inshore to 30 m depth, inhabiting sandy and weedy bottom types, sometimes near patch reefs. Aplacental yolksac viviparous. Jordan and Gilbert (1883) reported a litter of five from a single female, Bigelow and Schroeder (1953) reported a litter of 6 in a single female and Hensley et al. (1998) reported a mean litter size of 6.6 from 12 females from Florida and Texas. Parturition possibly occurs during late spring to early summer along the lower Texas coast with fertilization occurring after parturition (Hensley et al. 1998). Feeds primarily on benthic molluscs and crustaceans.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is discarded bycatch in the USA. It is probably utilized where taken in Mexican waters.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Taken as bycatch in shrimp trawls in the Gulf of Mexico. Shrimp trawl fishing is intense in the Gulf of Mexico, particularly in shallow waters, with 4-5 million trawl hours annually (Shepherd and Myers 2005). Trawl and artisanal fisheries also operate throughout this species' inshore range off Nicaragua (FAO 2008).
Occasionally taken by recreational fishers along the Texas coast (Hensley et al. 1998) and probably elsewhere.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: None in place.

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.4. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Sandy
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.7. Marine Neritic - Macroalgal/Kelp
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.5. Inter-Reef Soft Substrate
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.9. Marine Neritic - Seagrass (Submerged)
12. Marine Intertidal -> 12.2. Marine Intertidal - Sandy Shoreline and/or Beaches, Sand Bars, Spits, Etc

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.3. Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.4. Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓   National : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Bigelow, H.B. and Schroeder, W.C. 1953. Fishes of the Western North Atlantic. Part 2: sawfishes, guitarfishes, skates and rays. Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

FAO. 2008. Fishery and Aquaculture Profile: Nicaragua. Available at:

Hensley, R.A., McCoid, M.J., and Luer, C.A. 1998.. Litter variation in the Atlantic guitarfish (Rhinobatidae: Rhinobatos lentiginosus) with comments on distribution in the Gulf of Mexico. Southwestern Naturalist 43((4):): 501-504.

IUCN. 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2009.2). Available at: (Accessed: 3 November 2009).

Jordan, D.S. and Gilbert, C.H. 1883. Notes on a collection of fishes from Charleston, South Carolina, with descriptions of three new species. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 5(7): 580-620.

McEachran, J.D. and de Carvalho, M.R. 2002.. Batoid fishes. In: In: Carpenter, K.E. (ed). (ed.), The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Atlantic. Volume 1. Introduction, molluscs, crustaceans, hagfishes, sharks, batoid fishes and chimaeras., pp. Pp. 508-589.. FAO,, Rome.

Sánchez, A.C. 1997.. Listado taxonomico de las especies marinas identificadas en los océanos Pacífico y Atlántico (Caribe) de Nicaragua. Ministerio de Economía y Desarrollo. MEDE PESCA., Managua.

Shepherd, T.D. and Myers, R.A. 2005. Direct and indirect fishery effects on small coastal elasmobranchs in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Ecology Letters 8: 1095-1104.

Walls, J.G. 1975.. Fishes of the northern Gulf of Mexico. T.F.H. Publishing Inc.,, Hong Kong.

Citation: Casper, B.M., Burgess, G.H. & Shepherd, T. 2009. Rhinobatos lentiginosus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T161743A5493435. . Downloaded on 03 December 2016.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided