Devil Ray Fish – Profile | Traits | Diet | Breeding | Facts

devil ray fish
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The devil ray fish or giant devil ray, scientific name Mobula mobular is a species of ray within the family Mobulidae. It is at present listed as endangered, principally on account of bycatch mortality in unrelated fisheries.

Devil Ray Fish Profile

The Devil Ray Fis, Mobula mobular is a big marine vertebrate and may attain as much as 5.2 m in disc width (DW), though specimens of about 3 m DW are most typical. This giant epipelagic batoid fish inhabits the complete Mediterranean Sea and probably the adjoining Atlantic waters.

Due to its geographic distribution and uncommon records outdoors the Mediterranean, it’s thought-about an endemic elasmobranch within the area. Information on the biology of the giant devil ray is scarce.

It principally inhabits deep pelagic waters the place it feeds on plankton, predominantly krill and small education fish. Giant devil rays are ovoviviparous, which means that just one giant egg is developed contained in the body of the feminine.

After more than a year and a half, a younger fish is “born”. At this time, younger fish can have a DW of over a meter! Throughout its range, the giant devil ray is believed to live in low numbers though inhabitants estimates are unavailable.

The giant devil ray is listed as Endangered (EN A4d) on the IUCN Red List.

Devil Ray Fish Description

The Devil Ray Fish is bigger than its shut relative to the lesser devil ray. It grows to a size of disk3.5 meters (11 ft), making it one of the many largest rays. It possesses a spiny tail.

The devil ray fish is the third-largest species within the genus Mobula, after the oceanic and reef manta rays. It is the one mobulid species that live within the Mediterranean Sea.

The species has been noticed to have a most recorded size disk width of 5.2 meters (roughly 17 feet). However, these data are unreliable and are allegedly misunderstood as Giant oceanic Manta Rays which have strayed into the Mediterranean.

It can also be thought-about to be the one Devilfish with a tail backbone. The species can also be thought-about endangered given its reducing inhabitant’s density.

devil ray fish

Distribution and habitat

devil ray fish are most typical within the Mediterranean Sea and maybe discovered elsewhere within the Eastern Atlantic Ocean, off the southwest coast of Ireland and south of Portugal, and probably within the northwest Atlantic.

The species devil ray fish has have been recorded in various Mediterranean countries comparable to Croatia, Greece, Italy, and Turkey, which exhibits that the species has a basin-wide distribution. They predominantly choose deep waters.

devil ray fish inhabit offshore areas to the neritic zone, their range as deep as a number of thousand meters. They are usually noticed in small clusters, and should often type bigger teams.

Giant devil rays are normally seen in deep coastal waters however are often seen in shallow waters. In a tagging experiment performed by the Italian National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), three giant devil rays have been tagged and their depth was noticed all through totally different occasions of the day.

The rays reached a maximum depth of 600–700 meters (1960–2300 feet) however principally spent their time between 0 and 50 meters (0 and 165 feet); they like hotter waters with a temperature between 20 °C and 29 °C (68 °F and 84 °F).

The giant devil rays additionally deep dive at random occasions, situations not correlated to the time of day not like how different species deep dive at particular occasions of day.

In different observations learning ray abundance and habitat, giant devil rays have been noticed alone and infrequently in teams with a maximum of 18 rays.

The same research additionally emphasizes that the rays bear a species migration throughout the Mediterranean Sea with the seasons, profiting from heat, extremely productive waters.

Devil ray fish Ecology

The average lifespan of an enormous devil ray is 20 years. It is an epipelagic species. It has a really low reproductive capability. This implies that the species provides birth to a single offspring at unknown intervals.

The species is ovoviviparous: the younger hatch from their eggs contained in the mom’s body and emerge later when they’re more totally grown.

It may be predicted that at the rate that its inhabitants are declining now, the inhabitants will decline by a minimum of 50% within the next 60 years. This is because of various threats together with the poor probability of recovering from declining populations.

devil ray fish


Devil rays feed on planktonic crustaceans and small education fish, that are trapped utilizing the modified gill covers (branchial plates) liable for its “devil-like” silhouette. It principally eats euphausiid shrimp (Meganyctiphanes norvegica) and small mesopelagic and clupeid fishes.

Devil ray fish Diving and Running

The fish travel swiftly throughout great distances—as much as 49 kilometers (30 miles) per day, and so far as 3,800 kilometers (2,300 miles) over a number of months’ time. This is quicker than basking and whale sharks, however slower than white sharks.

Perhaps more spectacular are the devil rays’ diving habits. Up to now recognized primarily as ocean floor dwellers, these rays have a specialized organ referred to as the retia mirabilia that permits some fish to heat their brains via warmth alternate.

It has long been proposed that mind exercise and visible acuity allowed by higher mind temperature convey important selective benefits when foraging in chilly, deep water.

Sure sufficient, information from the satellite tag revealed that the devil rays are deep divers. Measurements revealed frequent dives to depths of as much as two kilometers—among the many deepest dives recorded for marine animals—the place the temperature can attain as little as 3°C.

Most dive occasions have been recorded as lower than 90 minutes, though a couple of lasted as long as eleven hours.

Deep dives came about almost continuously through the day, and before and after deep-water expeditions, the rays tended to spend a big period of time close to the floor throughout the daytime, presumably to heat up.

Why is trouble making the costly (energy-consuming) dives? Foraging within the deep scattering layers—areas at depth with high biomass, together with squid and different tasty morsels—is probably going the explanation, say the scientists.


An epipelagic species discovered over continental cabinets and close to oceanic islands. Feeds on small pelagic fishes and crustaceans, by funneling utilizing their cephalic fins after which trapping or filtering the meals via their specialized gill plates.

Ovoviviparous. Bycatch mortalities have been reported from Mediterranean fisheries – large-scale driftnets, purse seines, and trawls, backside set nets, trammel nets, longlines, and even fastened traps for tuna. It is utilized for its meat as a protein source (besides the pinnacle) and gill plates as an ingredient in Chinese medication.

devil ray fish

Life cycle and mating behavior

Exhibit ovoviparity (aplacental viviparity), with embryos feeding initially on yolk, then receiving extra nourishment from the mom by oblique absorption of uterine fluid enriched with mucus, fats, or protein via specialized structures.

Devil ray fish Conservation

The devilfish has a restricted range and a low rate of reproduction. As a result, it’s delicate to environmental modifications. Its inhabitant’s pattern is reducing.

Most of the information on the giant devil ray has been gathered via bycatch information as a result of the species has high bycatch mortality. Giant devil ray mortalities are principally reported as bycatch from swordfish nets and infrequently reported as bycatch from longlines, purse seines, trawls, trammel nets, and tuna traps.

There are many threats towards the giant devil ray comparable to fishing, useful resource harvesting (being taken as bycatch in numerous fisheries), industrial rubbish, and strong waste.

The most important threats to this species come from air pollution within the Mediterranean and bycatch seize in varied fishing tools together with trawls, tuna traps, and dragnets meant for swordfish.

All species of the genus Mobula have been focused on leisure and industrial fisheries for hundreds of years. Fisheries in Gaza and Egypt are reported to catch giant devil rays for native consumption, and they’re reported as bycatch in varied locations together with the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean.

The 2004 IUCN Red List listed the devilfish as a susceptible species. It was reclassified as endangered in 2006 on account of low inhabitants resilience coupled with continued high bycatch mortality.

In June 2018 the New Zealand Department of Conservation classified the devilfish as “Data Deficient” with the qualifier “Secure Overseas” under the New Zealand Threat Classification System.

Off of the Adriatic Sea, the giant devil ray is legally protected in Italy and Croatia. Fishing, transportation, landing, and commerce of the giant devil ray are forbidden in Albania. The giant devil ray can also be protected underneath the Bern and Barcelona conventions.

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