A new marine fish species (Glaucostegus younholeei; Bangladeshi guitarfish) discovered by ABRLab

By ABR Lab 4 July, 2021 2:35 PM

Glaucostegus younholeei (Bangladeshi guitarfish), a new marine fish species discovered in Bangladesh

Researchers from Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University have discovered a formerly unknown species of fish from Cox’s Bazar coast of the Bay of Bengal.

A team from the university’s Aquatic Bioresource Research Lab discovered the new-to-science fish. Known as ‘Pitambori’ by local anglers, the fish has been named Glaucostegus younholeei (Bangladeshi guitarfish). The new species was discovered during an investigation on the current biodiversity status of Elasmobranch fishes of the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh from 2019 to 2021.

Alongside Prof Habib, the team is comprised of research assistants: Md Jayedul Islam, ex-student of Zoology, Jagannath University, Dhaka. Prof Habib is currently serving as Dean of the Faculty of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Marine Science at Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University. This research was carried out through an Elasmobranch research project funded by the University Grants Commission of Bangladesh. This is the third new species of marine fishes discovered from Bangladeshi waters by the team. This research was published in the international taxonomic journal “Zootaxa”. Authors said, “We have found a species of guitarfish that confused with another guitarfish (Granulated guitarfish) rarely found in our area. The new species is distinguished from other related species by having a strongly pointed snout, small nostrils about half of the mouth width, very small orbit, and small maturation size of the male specimen.

The new species belongs to the Glaucostegidae family, which are commonly called Giant guitarfish and belong to the order Rhinopristiformes. Generally, they occur in warm temperate and tropical oceans, inshore to well offshore on continental and insular shelves and slopes. They are exclusively inhabitants of marine waters except for two species, Giant shovelnose ray and Blackchin guitarfish which sometimes move to the fresh and brackish water. Giant guitarfishes are bottom-dwellers and usually rest on, or lie partly buried within soft mud or sandy sediments, rather than active swimming in midwater.

According to this publication, there are 8 species of giant guitarfish presents all over the world. Except for two species, all of the giant guitarfish occur in the Indian ocean. According to IUCN 2021, species of the Giant guitarfish are critically endangered. We should take the urgent initiative to conserve this ecologically important species group.

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