Flying Devil Rays

Many different rays are known by the sobriquet “devil ray”. In this instance I am referring to the several species that frequent the Sea of Cortez.

Both mantas and mobulas are members of the Family Mobulidae, a group about which, very little is known. It is not uncommon to mistake mobulas for mantas. One researcher I spoke with was careful to make the distinction; another used the names interchangeably. Among many locals, this kind of distinction is all but ignored. Any of the four species of mobulas in the Sea of Cortez (tarapacana, thurstoni, munkiana, and japanica) along with the giant manta ray all go by a single name: cubana. It is not exactly the most delicate of nicknames; cubana means, literally, “Cuban.” Apparently, the dark skin of mobulas and manta rays is reminiscent of members of the island-nation to the east.

Here, the most likely culprit in the following video is Mobula munkiana. Locally known as tortillas, “jump more frequently than other mobula, never grow larger than a meter and are more inclined to school.

The other animal in the video is the Brown Pelican – Pelecanus occidentalis. Since both rays and pelicans feed on small crustaceans, they are often found in the same area.

This video from the BBC, narrated by David Tennant, has both rays and pelicans flying over the same bit of water.


via Deep Sea News

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