Bowmouth Guitarfish (Rhina ancylostoma)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 202523895
Rapid assessment of the immediate conservation requirements for critically endangered guitarfish in Southern Mozambique
1) Visually monitor known aggregation areas and critical habitats for guitarfish in the Inhambane Province. Continuing to build up a photo ID library will allow us to determine if the natural spot patterning is both unique and stable enough to use in long-term photo identification studies. Upon validating this technique, we will use our decade-long datasets to provide the first estimates of abundance in southern Mozambican as well as examine their habitat use and other key behaviours. 2) Advanced telemetry techniques will allow us to study the movements of this large, presumably highly mobile ray for the first time. We aim to collect the first information on their rate of movement, home range, habitat use, diel movements, depth preferences, and general behavior. 3) Continue to monitor local artisanal fisheries to quantify catches of this species along the coast and learn more about their biology, reproductive ecology and diet through in situ dissection work. We will collect morphometric, meristic, and genetic data from specimens in the field and from fisheries to contribute to on-going efforts to resolve taxonomic uncertainties. 4) To assess growing pressure from tourism, behavioral studies will help to develop science-based recommendations for non-detrimental interactions and sustainable tourism practices.
Project 202523895 location - Mozambique, Africa