Environment

Native Fish Of Guatemala

Guatemala's lakes, rivers, Pacific coasts, and its Gulf of Honduras waters alike are teeming with fish.

The nation of Guatemala is located in Central America, and sits along the southern border of Mexico. The country of Guatemala has a good amount of rivers running through its country, as well as a number of lakes and also has a border with the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Honduras which is a inlet for the Caribbean Sea that is part of the greater Atlantic Ocean. This article will touch on a few of these fish species and their physical characteristics, habitats and ranges, dietary patterns and their current status and the major threats that they face.

Bentfin Devil Ray

The Bentfin Devil Ray, scientific name Mobula thurstoni, is a species of eagle ray fish in the Myliobatidae Family. An adult of the species can have a disc width that is as long as 70 inches (180 centimeters) and has a length of slightly less then 35 inches (90 centimeters). The upper-side of this species tends to vary in color from a olive-grey to a dark grey, while the under-side and the tip of the dorsal fin is white. The pectoral fins are a contrast of being black colored at the end of the tip, while the front edge of them is white. The main diet of this species is plankton, which the ray funnels into its mouth while it swims separating them from the water by using its gill rakers. The species has also been known to eat also eat krill and opossum shrimps. The Bentfin Devil Ray is found in tropical and sub-tropical waters across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans and is located in a wide variety of countries some of which are, Australia, Brazil, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Japan, Oman, the United States and South Africa. The Bentfin Devil Ray has been listed as a near threatened species on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List since 2016. The major threats that the species faces are from large-scale fisheries, whether they are get targeted directly for their gill platers or they are incidentally caught when hunting for tuna or other fish.

Golden Cownose Ray

The Golden Cownose Ray, scientific name Rhinoptera steindachneri, is a species of eagle ray fish that is part of the Myliobatidae Family. An male adult of the species can grow to have a disc width of up to 37.8 inches (96 centimeters) and be a length of about 21.6 inches (54 centimeters) while a female can have a disc width up to 41 inches (104 centimeters) and have a length of around 23.4 inches (59 centimeters). The upper surface color of this species is usually a dark brown color that has a golden bronze tint, with the underside being a white or whitish-yellow color. The species is mostly fests on a diet of mollusks and crustaceans as a bottom feeder. The species has a variety of habitats that it is found in like the open sea, shallow seas, coastal lagoons, marshes and estuaries in the eastern central and south-eastern Pacific Ocean by the countries of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia Ecuador and Peru. The Golden Cownose Ray has been listed as a near threatened species on the IUCN Red List since 2006. The major threats that the species faces are being incidentally caught among trawl nets, gill-nets, or long-lines by artisanal fisheries that are trying to catch shrimp, tuna or other marine creatures. They are also threatened by the modification of their habitat as estuaries that they live in are being changed to help shrimp farming.

Rainbow Parrotfish

The Rainbow Parrotfish, scientific name Scarus guacamaia, is a species of fish that is part of the Scaridae Family of wrasses, with the parrotfishes being a subfamily therein. The Rainbow Parrotfish is the largest species in its family in the Atlantic Ocean and one of the largest overall, as it can reach being 3.9 feet (1.2 meters) in length and can weight up to 44 pounds (20 kilograms). The species has fins that are a dull orange color, but their are areas of green that extended into the dorsal and backside regions with blue-green colored dental plates. The species is mainly a detritivore, meaning it eats decomposing plant and animals parts, as well as feces. However, they also eat meiofauna, colonies of bacterial and sponges. The species is found in mangroves, coral reefs and sea grass beds from Bermuda in the Atlantic Ocean, down into the Bahamas and Caribbean sea to Venezuela in the south and the coastline of Central America. The Rainbow Parrotfish has been listed as a near threatened species on the IUCN Red List since 2012. The major threats that the species faces are being over-fished for food and having their natural habitats progressively impacted due to habitat degradation and modification.

Snowy Grouper

The Snowy Grouper, scientific name Hyporthodus niveatus, is a species of fish in the Serranidae Family of fishes. Adult females of this species grow to be around 15.7 to 19.6 inches (40 to 50 centimeters), while males are a little longer at 21.6 to 23.6 inches (55 to 60 centimeters). Adults of the species can weight up to 70 pounds (31.75 kilograms). This species is dark brown in color, with a slight copper tint to it and has a black margin at the spiny portion of its dorsal fin. This species eats bottom dwelling creatures, mostly deepwater crabs, although they have also been known to eat butterfish, eels and some other fish species and squids. This species is found in the offshore rocky bottoms of the outer continental shelf along the Atlantic that stretches from the state of Massachusetts in America down to Argentina in South America. They are also found in rock ridge habitats in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Mexico and Central America. The Snowy Grouper has been listed as a vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List since 2007. The major threats that this species faces is from being caught by traps, trawls and bottom long-lines by fisheries, which poses a threat to juvenile survival in the species and has led to a decreasing population. The species is also more vulnerable to overfishing due to its slow growth rates.

Protecting the Native Fish of Guatemala

Concerned people, not only in Guatemala, but also in the many other countries that these fish inhabit, can take a few directed actions in order to help conserve these and other fish species. They can look into national and international organizations whose goal it is to help endangered fish species and help conserve their habitats by educating themselves on the issues, finding out what they can do to help or by donating money. People can also press and petition their local, state and national government officials and offices to push for legislation that would set bans or limits on commercial fishing or that would established protected areas or national parks for these species.

Native Fish Of Guatemala

Native Fish of GuatemalaScientific Name
Atlantic Sailfish
Istiophorus albicans
Blackbelt CichlidVieja maculicauda
Ten-Spine Grouper
Hyporthodus exsul
Chiapas Catfish
Lacantunia enigmatica
Snowy Grouper
Hyporthodus niveatus
Firemouth Cichlid
Thorichthys meeki
Rainbow Parrotfish
Scarus guacamaia
Golden Cownose RayRhinoptera steindachneri
River GobyAwaous banana
Bentfin Devil RayMobula thurstoni

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