Strange Shape, Strange Beast. Part Shark,
part ray. The Shovel Nose Ray, Rhinobatos batillum, is
an odd ball. It spends much of the day in quiet corners of coral
lagoons, venturing abroad at night on incoming tides to work like
a mine-detector over the floor of the lagoon, sensing invertebrate
molluscan, annelid and crustacean burrowers which it siphons in
and sieves from the coral debris which it ejects from its ventral
gill slits. Its dentition is designed for crushing molluscan shells.
Respiratory water is taken in through the dorsal operculum close
behind its eye.
This specimen at 10 foot was particularly large
for a common Shovel Nose. Usually only white spotted Shovel Noses
grow to that size