Thornback ray caught and released,male, measured 27 inches, as part of icthyology course at University of San Francisco. McNears Beach County Park Pier.
This is an old photo that I came across checking my shark and ray photo collection. I think it is Rhynchobatus australiae (White spotted Guitarfish). This guy is on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It used to be a reliable photo opportunity.
In 2011, Queensland Museum, hosting one of the world leading fish experts, published 'Wild Guide to Moreton Bay and Adjacent coasts, Vol. 1.' Can someone please double-check page 177. It seems to show the same fish but identified as Rhynchobatus laevis (Smoothnose Wedgefish)- a species probably not at home in Eastern Australia.
I simply can't believe that a Vulnerable Species is misidentified by a taxonomic expert, even if he works at Queensland Museum. Just wondering what the story might be.
It was a big guy (about 2m long) gently lying on the sandy bottom, just next to the ledge-shaped reef. We spent about ten minutes there, keeping a good distance to avoid disturbance. Yet, remoras stalked it :-)
Note the widely spotted back - sometimes spots are only concentrated along the flanks.
Pic taken in the context of project Green Bubbles, H2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 643712.
Orange County, California, US
The guitarfish are a family, Rhinobatidae, of rays. The guitarfish are known for an elongated body with a flattened head and trunk and small ray like wings. The combined range of the various species is tropical, subtropical and temperate waters worldwide. They often travel in large schools.