Summarizing Guitarfish season 2023

Summarizing Guitarfish season 2023

We are very pleased to finish the 2023 G. cemiculus (Blackchin guitarfish) season with 107 neonates measured, tagged, and sampled along both the Israeli and Cypriot coastline. Blackchin neonates are most prevalent from the end of August to the beginning of November in what is referred to as ‘hot spots’.

Thanks to a collaboration with Blue Marine Foundation and MER Research Institute  we organized a research expedition in Cyprus, where we sampled blackchin guitarfish neonates in such ‘hot spots’ to amass adequate data for comparative analysis.

During our final field day of the season in Ma’agan Michael Beach (Israel), also a well-known hot spot of G. cemiculus, we were thrilled to collect biological data from the biggest neonates we came across during this season. With 60 cm in total length (average is 32 cm) and weight of 600 grams (average is 96 grams), it is obvious this individual is not a part of the general neonate population and was estimated to be born around mid-August. Comparing other parameters such as microbiome assembly, phylogeographic origin, and kinship relations will unfold the story of this guitarfish.  

Furthermore, leveraging the expertise of the Morris Kahn Marine Research Station in comparative population biology, our investigations could offer initial insights into the entire population’s genetic structure, status, and health of this species.

Now we are asking for your collaboration- let us know if you come across a guitarfish while diving, snorkelling or just enjoying a walk on the beach. Your observation is valuable to us!

               Photo credit: Eynav Cohen

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