Ray at Japanese Aquarium Revealed as New Species


Kagoshima, Sept. 26 (Jiji Press)--A ray that had been kept at an aquarium in the city of Kagoshima, southwestern Japan, as a giant guitarfish for over two decades has been found to be a new species.

The fish has been raised at the Kagoshima City Aquarium since its opening in 1997. The finding was reported in the edition dated Sunday last week of the journal of the Ichthyological Society of Japan.

The giant guitarfish is designated as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The new species is closely related to the giant guitarfish, Keita Koeda, 34, a researcher from the Kuroshio Biological Research Institute in Kochi Prefecture, western Japan, said. It is the first time in about 10 years that a new species of rays has been discovered in waters around Japan, according to Koeda.

The new species was named rhynchobatus mononoke as the fish looks like a monster wearing a triangular headpiece when seen from its belly. Mononoke means monsters or spirits in Japanese.

Koeda noticed a difference when he compared the ray at the aquarium with photos taken of the giant guitarfish in waters near the city of Satsumasendai, Kagoshima Prefecture, and other regions in 2018. With the help of the aquarium and the Kagoshima University Museum, he discovered that it is a new species.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press