A rockin’ new fish has joined the party inside the Mangrove Lagoon touch tank at the Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid and you don’t want to miss out on seeing this unusual addition.
You’ll have to look closely to spot our new Guitarfish, as it likes to blend in with its surroundings and even burrow itself in the sand.
With a tail that looks a lot like a shark and triangular head, it’s not hard to see how the Guitarfish got its name. A cross between sharks and stingrays, Guitarfish are closely related to the latter and feature an elongated body with a flattened head and body with ray-like wings.
Our Guitarfish is still young at about 2-3 years old and is only 1-2 feet long. When full grown, Guitarfish can reach 4 feet in length!
Guitarfish like to burrow in the sand so that the only things visible are their eyes and spiracles, small holes on the top of their heads. To breathe, Guitarfish pump water in through their spiracles, over their gills and out through gill openings. Their mouth is located on the bottom of their body and they use pebble-like teeth to crunch their food, which includes shrimp, clams and crabs.
Fun fact – Guitarfish can actually change in color from olive to a sandy brown, depending on the color of their sandy seafloor! Doing so helps them blend in with their habitat. You’ll notice our Guitarfish is very light in color, almost white, and that’s because the seafloor inside the Mangrove Lagoon is light.
Guitarfish are common along the East Coast, especially in mangrove areas found in the Florida Keys, so it made perfect sense to add this unusual and interesting looking fish to the Mangrove Lagoon exhibit at the Aquarium Pyramid where it joins stingrays, a couple of lobsters and other fish!