|Manta alfredi at Dharavandhoo, Maldives|
|Manta birostris at Hin Daeng, Thailand|
| Cephalopterus manta |
|Range of manta rays|
Manta rays are large rays belonging to the genus Manta. The larger species, M. birostris , reaches 7 m (23 ft) in width, while the smaller, M. alfredi , reaches 5.5 m (18 ft 1 in). Both have triangular pectoral fins, horn-shaped cephalic fins and large, forward-facing mouths. They are classified among the Myliobatiformes (stingrays and relatives) and are placed in the family Myliobatidae (eagle rays).
Batoidea is a superorder of cartilaginous fishes commonly known as rays. They and their close relatives, the sharks, comprise the subclass Elasmobranchii. Rays are the largest group of cartilaginous fishes, with well over 600 species in 26 families. Rays are distinguished by their flattened bodies, enlarged pectoral fins that are fused to the head, and gill slits that are placed on their ventral surfaces.
A genus is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, as well as viruses, in biology. In the hierarchy of biological classification, genus comes above species and below family. In binomial nomenclature, the genus name forms the first part of the binomial species name for each species within the genus.
The giant oceanic manta ray is a species of ray in the family Mobulidae, and the largest type of ray in the world. They are circumglobal and are typically found in tropical and subtropical waters, but can also be found in temperate waters.
Mantas are found in warm temperate, subtropical and tropical waters. Both species are pelagic; M. birostris migrates across open oceans, singly or in groups, while M. alfredi tends to be resident and coastal. They are filter feeders and eat large quantities of zooplankton, which they gather with their open mouths as they swim. However, research suggests that the majority of their diet (73%) actually comes from mesopelagic sources; that is, they are actually deep sea predators, feeding on fish and other organisms that inhabit areas of the sea between 200–1,000 metres (650–3,330 ft) below the surface.
Pelagic fish live in the pelagic zone of ocean or lake waters – being neither close to the bottom nor near the shore – in contrast with demersal fish, which do live on or near the bottom, and reef fish, which are associated with coral reefs.
Animal migration is the relatively long-distance movement of individual animals, usually on a seasonal basis. It is the most common form of migration in ecology. It is found in all major animal groups, including birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and crustaceans. The trigger for the migration may be local climate, local availability of food, the season of the year or for mating reasons. To be counted as a true migration, and not just a local dispersal or irruption, the movement of the animals should be an annual or seasonal occurrence, such as Northern Hemisphere birds migrating south for the winter; wildebeest migrating annually for seasonal grazing; or a major habitat change as part of their life, such as young Atlantic salmon or Sea lamprey leaving the river of their birth when they have reached a few inches in size.
Filter feeders are a sub-group of suspension feeding animals that feed by straining suspended matter and food particles from water, typically by passing the water over a specialized filtering structure. Some animals that use this method of feeding are clams, krill, sponges, baleen whales, and many fish. Some birds, such as flamingos and certain species of duck, are also filter feeders. Filter feeders can play an important role in clarifying water, and are therefore considered ecosystem engineers. They are also important in bioaccumulation and, as a result, as indicator organisms.
Gestation lasts over a year, and mantas give birth to live pups. Mantas may visit cleaning stations for the removal of parasites. Like whales, they breach for unknown reasons.
Gestation is the period of development during the carrying of an embryo or fetus inside viviparous animals. It is typical for mammals, but also occurs for some non-mammals. Mammals during pregnancy can have one or more gestations at the same time for example in a multiple birth.
Ovoviviparity, ovovivipary, ovivipary, or aplacental viviparity is a mode of reproduction in animals in which embryos that develop inside eggs remain in the mother's body until they are ready to hatch. This method of reproduction is similar to viviparity, but the embryos have no placental connection with the mother and receive their nourishment from a yolk sac. In some species, this is supplemented by uterine secretions or other maternal provisioning.
A cleaning station is a location where aquatic life congregate to be cleaned by smaller creatures. Such stations exist in both freshwater and marine environments, and are used by animals including fish, sea turtles and hippos.
Both species are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Anthropogenic threats include pollution, entanglement in fishing nets, and direct harvesting for their gill rakers for use in Chinese medicine. Their slow reproductive rate exacerbates these threats. They are protected in international waters by the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals, but are more vulnerable closer to shore. Areas where mantas congregate are popular with tourists. Only a few public aquariums are large enough to house them.
A vulnerable species is one which has been categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as likely to become endangered unless the circumstances that are threatening its survival and reproduction improve.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. It is involved in data gathering and analysis, research, field projects, advocacy, and education. IUCN's mission is to "influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable".
Human impact on the environment or anthropogenic impact on the environment includes changes to biophysical environments and ecosystems, biodiversity, and natural resources caused directly or indirectly by humans, including global warming, environmental degradation, mass extinction and biodiversity loss, ecological crisis, and ecological collapse. Modifying the environment to fit the needs of society is causing severe effects, which become worse as the problem of human overpopulation continues. Some human activities that cause damage to the environment on a global scale include human reproduction, overconsumption, overexploitation, pollution, and deforestation, to name but a few. Some of the problems, including global warming and biodiversity loss pose an existential risk to the human race, and overpopulation causes those problems.
|Phylogeny of stingrays (Myliobatiformes)|
The name "manta" is Portuguese and Spanish for mantle (cloak or blanket), a type of blanket-shaped trap traditionally used to catch rays.Mantas are known as "devilfish" because of their horn-shaped cephalic fins, which are imagined to give them an "evil" appearance.
Portuguese is a Western Romance language originating in the Iberian Peninsula. It is the sole official language of Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola, and São Tomé and Príncipe. It also has co-official language status in East Timor, Equatorial Guinea and Macau in China. As the result of expansion during colonial times, a cultural presence of Portuguese and Portuguese creole speakers are also found in Goa, Daman and Diu in India; in Batticaloa on the east coast of Sri Lanka; in the Indonesian island of Flores; in the Malacca state of Malaysia; and the ABC islands in the Caribbean where Papiamento is spoken, while Cape Verdean Creole is the most widely spoken Portuguese-based Creole. Reintegrationists maintain that Galician is not a separate language, but a dialect of Portuguese. A Portuguese-speaking person or nation is referred to as "Lusophone" (Lusófono).
Spanish or Castilian is a Romance language that originated in the Castile region of Spain and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in the Americas and Spain. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.
Manta rays are members of the order Myliobatiformes which consists of stingrays and their relatives.The genus Manta is part of the eagle ray family Myliobatidae, where it is grouped in the subfamily Mobulinae along with the Mobula devil rays. In 2017, an analysis of DNA, and to a lesser degree, morphology, found that Mobula was paraphyletic with respect to the manta rays, and they recommended treating Manta as a junior synonym of Mobula.
Myliobatiformes is one of the four orders of batoids, cartilaginous fishes related to sharks. They were formerly included in the order Rajiformes, but more recent phylogenetic studies have shown the myliobatiforms to be a monophyletic group, and its more derived members evolved their highly flattened shapes independently of the skates.
Stingrays are a group of sea rays, which are cartilaginous fish related to sharks. Many species are endangered. They are classified in the suborder Myliobatoidei of the order Myliobatiformes and consist of eight families: Hexatrygonidae, Plesiobatidae, Urolophidae (stingarees), Urotrygonidae, Dasyatidae, Potamotrygonidae, Gymnuridae, and Myliobatidae.
Family is one of the eight major hierarchical taxonomic ranks in Linnaean taxonomy; it is classified between order and genus. A family may be divided into subfamilies, which are intermediate ranks between the ranks of family and genus. The official family names are Latin in origin; however, popular names are often used: for example, walnut trees and hickory trees belong to the family Juglandaceae, but that family is commonly referred to as being the "walnut family".
Mantas evolved from bottom-dwelling stingrays, eventually developing more wing-like pectoral fins.M. birostris still has a vestigial remnant of a sting barb in the form of a caudal spine. The mouths of most rays lie on the underside of the head, while in mantas, they are right at the front. Manta rays and devil rays are the only ray species that have evolved into filter feeders.
The scientific naming of mantas has had a convoluted history, during which several names were used for both the genus (Ceratoptera, BrachioptilonDaemomanta, and Diabolicthys) and species (such as vampyrus, americana, johnii, and hamiltoni). All were eventually treated as synonyms of the single species Manta birostris.The genus name Manta was first published in 1829 by Dr Edward Nathaniel Bancroft of Jamaica. The specific name birostris is ascribed to Johann Julius Walbaum (1792) by some authorities and to Johann August Donndorff (1798) by others. The specific name alfredi was first used by Australian zoologist Gerard Krefft, who named the manta after Prince Alfred.
Authorities were still not in agreement and some argued that the black color morph was a different species from the mostly white morph. This proposal was discounted by a 2001 study of the mitochondrial DNA of both.A 2009 study analyzed the differences in morphology, including color, meristic variation, spine, dermal denticles (tooth-like scales), and teeth of different populations. Two distinct species emerged: the smaller M. alfredi found in the Indo-Pacific and tropical east Atlantic, and the larger M. birostris found throughout tropical, subtropical and warm temperate oceans. The former is more coastal, while the latter is more ocean-going and migratory. A 2010 study on mantas around Japan confirmed the morphological and genetic differences between M. birostris and M. alfredi.
A third possible species, preliminarily called Manta sp. cf. birostris, reaches at least 6 m (20 ft) in width, and inhabits the tropical west Atlantic, including the Caribbean. M. birostris and it occur in sympatry.
While some small teeth have been found, few fossilized skeletons of manta rays have been discovered. Their cartilaginous skeletons do not preserve well, as they lack the calcification of the bony fish. Only three sedimentary beds bearing manta ray fossils are known, one from the Oligocene in South Carolina and two from the Miocene and Pliocene in North Carolina.Remains of an extinct species have been found in the Chandler Bridge Formation of South Carolina. These were originally described as Manta fragilis, but were later reclassified as Paramobula fragilis .
Manta rays have broad heads, triangular pectoral fins, and horn-shaped cephalic fins located on either side of their mouths. 1,350 kg (2,980 lb). In both species, the width is about 2.2 times the length of the body; M. birostris reaches at least 7 m (23 ft) in width, while M. alfredi reaches about 5.5 m (18 ft). Dorsally, mantas are typically black or dark in color with pale markings on their "shoulders". Ventrally, they are usually white or pale with distinctive dark markings by which individual mantas can be recognized. All-black color morphs are known to exist. The skin is covered in mucus which protects it from infection. :2They have horizontally flattened bodies with eyes on the sides of their heads behind the cephalic fins, and gill slits on their ventral surfaces. Their tails lack skeletal support and are shorter than their disc-like bodies. The dorsal fins are small and at the base of the tail. The largest mantas can reach
The two species of manta differ in color patterns, dermal denticles, and dentition. M. birostris has more angular shoulder markings, larger ventral dark spots on the abdominal region, charcoal-colored ventral outlines on the pectoral fins, and a dark colored mouth. The shoulder markings of M. alfredi are more rounded, while its ventral spots are located near the posterior end and between the gill slits, and the mouth is white or pale colored. The denticles have multiple cusps and overlap in M. birostris, while those of M. alfredi are evenly spaced and lack cusps. Both species have small, square-shaped teeth on the lower jaw, but M. birostris also has enlarged teeth on the upper jaw. Unlike M. alfredi, M. birostris has a caudal spine near its dorsal fin.
Mantas move through the water by the wing-like movements of their pectoral fins, which drive water backwards. Their large mouths are rectangular, and face forward as opposed to other ray and skate species with downward-facing mouths. The spiracles typical of rays are vestigial, and mantas must swim continuously to keep oxygenated water passing over their gills. 2–3 The cephalic fins are usually spiralled, but flatten during foraging. The fish's gill arches have pallets of pinkish-brown spongy tissue that collect food particles. Mantas track down prey using visual and olfactory senses. They have one of the highest brain-to-body mass ratios and the largest brain size of all fish. Their brains have retia mirabilia which may serve to keep them warm. M. alfredi has been shown to dive to depths over 400 metres (1,300 ft), while their relative Mobula tarapacana , which has a similar structure, dives to nearly 2,000 metres (6,600 ft); the retia mirabilia probably serve to prevent their brains from being chilled during such dives into colder subsurface waters.:
Mating takes place at different times of the year in different parts of the manta's range. Courtship is difficult to observe in this fast-swimming fish, although mating "trains" with multiple individuals swimming closely behind each other are sometimes seen in shallow water. The mating sequence may be triggered by a full moon and seems to be initiated by a male following closely behind a female while she travels at around 10 km/h (6.2 mph). He makes repeated efforts to grasp her pectoral fin with his mouth, which may take 20 to 30 minutes. Once he has a tight grip, he turns upside-down and presses his ventral side against hers. He then inserts one of his claspers into her cloaca, where it remains for 60–90 seconds. The clasper forms a tube which channels sperm from the genital papilla; a siphon propels the seminal fluid into the oviduct. The male continues to grip the female's pectoral fin with his teeth for a further few minutes as both continue to swim, often followed by up to 20 other males. The pair then parts. For some reason, the male almost always grasps the left pectoral fin, and females often have scars that illustrate this. :8–9
The fertilized eggs develop within the female's oviduct. At first, they are enclosed in an egg case while the developing embryos absorb the yolk. After hatching, the pups remain in the oviduct and receive additional nutrition from milky secretions. 192 cm (76 in) and weight of 70 kg (150 lb). In southern Africa, M. birostris males mature at 4 m (13 ft) while females reach maturity slightly over that. :57 In Indonesia, M. birostris males appear to mature at 3.75 m (12 ft), while female mature around 4 m (13 ft). In southern Africa, M. alfredi matures at widths of 3 m (10 ft) for males and 3.9 m (13 ft) for females. :42 In the Maldives, males of M. alfredi mature at a width of 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in), while females mature at 3 m (9.8 ft). In Hawaii, M. alfredi matures at a width of 2.8 m (9 ft 2 in) for males and 3.4 m (11 ft) for females. Female mantas appear to mature at 8–10 years. Manta rays may live as long as 50 years.With no umbilical cord or placenta, the unborn pup relies on buccal pumping to obtain oxygen. Brood size is usually one or occasionally two. The gestation period is thought to be 12–13 months. When fully developed, the pup resembles a miniature adult and is expelled from the oviduct with no further parental care. In wild populations, an interval of two years between births may be normal, but a few individuals become pregnant in consecutive years, demonstrating an annual ovulatory cycle. The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium has had some success in breeding M. alfredi, with one female giving birth in three successive years. In one of these pregnancies, the gestation period was 372 days and at birth the pup had a width of
Swimming behavior in mantas differs across habitats: when travelling over deep water, they swim at a constant rate in a straight line, while further inshore, they usually bask or swim idly around. Mantas may travel alone or in groups up to 50. They may associate with other fish species, as well as sea birds and marine mammals. 15Mantas sometimes breach, leaping partially or entirely out of the water. Individuals in a group may make aerial jumps one after the other. These leaps occur in three forms - forward leaps where the fish lands head first, similar jumps with a tail first re-entry, or somersaults. The reason for breaching is not known; possible explanations include mating rituals, birthing, communication, or the removal of parasites and commensal remoras (suckerfish). :
Manta rays are filter feeders as well as macropredators. On the surface, they consume large quantities of zooplankton in the form of shrimp, krill, and planktonic crabs. In deeper depths, mantas consume small to medium sized fish. 13 While feeding, mantas flatten their cephalic fins to channel food into their mouths and the small particles are collected by the tissue between the gill arches. As many as 50 individual fish may gather at a single, plankton-rich feeding site. Tests have shown that around 27 percent the diet of M. birostris is from the surface while around 73 percent is at deeper depths. Mantas are themselves preyed upon by large sharks and by killer whales. They may also be bitten by cookiecutter sharks, :17 and harbor parasitic copepods. :14When foraging, it slowly swims around its prey, herding it into a tight "ball", and then speeds through the bunched organisms with a wide-open mouth. If a ball is particularly dense, a manta may somersault through it. :
Mantas visit cleaning stations on coral reefs for the removal of external parasites. The ray adopts a near-stationary position close to the coral surface for several minutes while the cleaner fish consume the attached organisms. Such visits most frequently occur when the tide is high. 160M. alfredi visits cleaning stations more often than M. birostris. :233 Individual mantas may revisit the same cleaning station or feeding area repeatedly and appear to have cognitive maps of their environment.In Hawaii, wrasses provide the cleaning; some species feed around the manta's mouth and gill slits, while others address the rest of the body surface. In Mozambique, sergeant major fish clean the mouth, while butterflyfishes concentrate on bite wounds. :
In 2016, scientists published a study in which manta rays were shown to exhibit behavior associated with self-awareness. In a modified mirror test, the individuals engaged in contingency checking and unusual self-directed behavior.
Mantas are found in tropical and subtropical waters in all the world's major oceans, and also venture into temperate seas. The furthest from the equator they have been recorded is North Carolina in the United States (31°N) and the North Island of New Zealand (36°S). They prefer water temperatures above 68 °F (20 °C) and M. alfredi is predominantly found in tropical areas. Both species are pelagic. M. birostris lives mostly in the open ocean, travelling with the currents and migrating to areas where upwellings of nutrient-rich water increase prey concentrations.
Fish that have been fitted with radio transmitters have travelled as far as 1,000 km (620 mi) from where they were caught, and descended to depths of at least 1,000 m (3,300 ft). M. alfredi is a more resident and coastal species. Seasonal migrations do occur, but they are shorter than those of M. birostris. Mantas are common around coasts from spring to fall, but travel further offshore during the winter. They keep close to the surface and in shallow water in daytime, while at night they swim at greater depths.
The greatest threat to manta rays is overfishing. M. birostris is not evenly distributed over the oceans, but is concentrated in areas that provide the food resources it requires, while M. alfredi is even more localized. Their distributions are thus fragmented, with little evidence of intermingling of subpopulations. Because of their long lifespans and low reproductive rate, overfishing can severely reduce local populations with little likelihood that individuals from elsewhere will replace them.
Both commercial and artisanal fisheries have targeted mantas for their meat and products. They are typically caught with nets, trawls, and harpoons.Mantas were once captured by fisheries in California and Australia for their liver oil and skin; the latter were used as abrasives. Their flesh is edible and is consumed in some countries, but is unattractive compared to other fish. Demand for their gill rakers, the cartilaginous structures protecting the gills, has recently entered Chinese medicine. To fill the growing demand in Asia for gill rakers, targeted fisheries have developed in the Philippines, Indonesia, Mozambique, Madagascar, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Brazil, and Tanzania. Each year, thousands of manta rays, primarily M. birostris, are caught and killed purely for their gill rakers. A fisheries study in Sri Lanka and India estimated that over 1000 were being sold in the country's fish markets each year. By comparison, M. birostris populations at most of the key aggregation sites around the world are estimated to have significantly fewer than 1000 individuals. Targeted fisheries for manta rays in the Gulf of California, the west coast of Mexico, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and the Philippines have reduced populations in these areas dramatically.
Manta rays are subject to other anthropogenic threats. Because mantas must swim constantly to flush oxygen-rich water over their gills, they are vulnerable to entanglement and subsequent suffocation. Mantas cannot swim backwards, and because of their protruding cephalic fins, are prone to entanglement in fishing lines, nets, ghost nets, and even loose mooring lines. When snared, mantas often attempt to free themselves by somersaulting, tangling themselves further. Loose, trailing line can wrap around and cut its way into its flesh, resulting in irreversible injury. Similarly, mantas become entangled in gill nets designed for smaller fish.Some mantas are injured by collision with boats, especially in areas where they congregate and are easily observed. Other threats or factors that may affect manta numbers are climate change, tourism, pollution from oil spills, and the ingestion of microplastics.
In 2011, mantas became strictly protected in international waters because of their inclusion in the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals. The CMS is an international treaty organization concerned with conserving migratory species and habitats on a global scale. Although individual nations were already protecting manta rays, the fish often migrate through unregulated waters, putting them at increased risk from overfishing.The IUCN declared M. birostris to be 'vulnerable with an elevated risk of extinction' in November 2011.
In the same year, M. alfredi was also classified as vulnerable with local populations of fewer than 1000 individuals and little or no interchange between subpopulations.The Manta Trust is a UK-based charity dedicated to research and conservation efforts for manta rays. The organization's website is also an information resource for manta conservation and biology.
Besides these international initiatives, some countries are taking their own actions. New Zealand has banned the taking of manta rays since the introduction of the Wildlife Act in 1953. In June 1995, the Maldives banned the export of all ray species and their body parts, effectively putting a stop to manta fishing, as there had not previously been a fishery for local consumption. The government reinforced this in 2009 with the introduction of two marine protected areas. In the Philippines, the taking of mantas was banned in 1998, but this was overturned in 1999 under pressure from local fishermen. Fish stocks were surveyed in 2002, and the ban was reintroduced. The taking or killing of mantas in Mexican waters was prohibited in 2007. This ban may not be strictly enforced, but laws are being more rigidly applied at Isla Holbox, an island off the Yucatán Peninsula, where manta rays are used to attract tourists.
In 2009, Hawaii became the first of the United States to introduce a ban on the killing or capturing of manta rays. Previously, no fishery for mantas existed in the state, but migratory fish that pass the islands are now protected. In 2010, Ecuador introduced a law prohibiting all fishing for manta and other rays, their retention as bycatch, and their sale.
The ancient Peruvian Moche people worshipped the sea and its animals. Their art often depicts manta rays.Historically, mantas were feared for their size and power. Sailors believed that they were dangerous to humans and could sink boats by pulling on the anchors. This attitude changed around 1978, when divers around the Gulf of California found them to be placid and that they could interact with the animals. Several divers photographed themselves with mantas, including Jaws author Peter Benchley.
Due to their size, mantas are rarely kept in captivity and few aquaria currently display them. One notable individual is "Nandi", a manta ray which was accidentally caught in shark nets off Durban, South Africa, in 2007. Rehabilitated and outgrowing her aquarium at uShaka Marine World, Nandi was moved to the larger Georgia Aquarium in August 2008, where she resides in its 23,848-m3 (6,300,000-US gal) "Ocean Voyager" exhibit.A second manta ray joined that aquarium's collection in September 2009, and a third was added in 2010.
The Atlantis resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas, hosted a manta named "Zeus" that was used as a research subject for 3 years until it was released in 2008.The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium also houses manta rays in the "Kuroshio Sea" tank, one of the largest aquarium tanks in the world. The first manta ray birth in captivity took place there in 2007. Although this pup did not survive, the aquarium has since had the birth of three more manta rays in 2008, 2009, and 2010.
Sites at which manta rays congregate attract tourists, and manta viewing generates substantial annual revenue for local communities. 19 Tourist sites exist in the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Spain, the Fiji Islands, Thailand, Indonesia, Hawaii, Western Australia and the Maldives. Mantas are popular because of their enormous size and because they are easily habituated to humans. Scuba divers may get a chance to watch mantas visiting cleaning stations and night dives enable viewers to see mantas feeding on plankton attracted by the lights.:
Ray tourism benefits locals and visitors by raising awareness of natural resource management and educating them about the animals. 19It can also provide funds for research and conservation. Constant unregulated interactions with tourists can negatively affect the fish by disrupting ecological relationships and increasing disease transmission. At Bora Bora, an excessive number of swimmers, boaters, and jet skiers caused the local manta ray population to abandon the area. :
In 2014, Indonesia brought in a fishing and export ban, as it has realized that manta ray tourism is more economically beneficial than allowing the fish to be killed. A dead manta is worth $40 to $500, while manta ray tourism can bring in $1 million during the life of a single manta ray. Indonesia has 5.8 million m2 (2.2 million mi2) of ocean, and this is now the world's largest sanctuary for manta rays.
The Mobulidae are a family of rays consisting mostly of large species living in the open ocean rather than on the sea bottom.
The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is located within the Ocean Expo Park in Okinawa, Japan. It welcomed its 20 millionth visitor on 30 March 2010 and is a member of the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA). It was the largest aquarium in the world until it was surpassed by the Georgia Aquarium in 2005. The aquarium has the theme of “Encounter the Okinawan Sea”.
Rajiformes is one of the four orders in the superorder Batoidea, flattened cartilaginous fishes related to sharks. Rajiforms are distinguished by the presence of greatly enlarged pectoral fins, which reach as far forward as the sides of the head, with a generally flattened body. The undulatory pectoral fin motion diagnostic to this taxon is known as rajiform locomotion. The eyes and spiracles are located on the upper surface of the head and the gill slits are on the underside of the body. Most species give birth to live young, although some lay eggs with a horny capsule.
The lesser devil ray is a ray in the family Mobulidae. They occur along the coasts of the western Atlantic, from North Carolina to northern Argentina.
Mobula is a genus of rays in the family Mobulidae found worldwide in tropical and warm, temperate seas. Some authorities consider this to be a subfamily of the Myliobatidae. Their appearance is similar to that of manta rays, which are in the same family, and based on genetic and morphological evidence, the mantas belong in Mobula. Species of this genus are often collectively referred to as "devil rays", "flying mobula", or simply "flying rays", due to their propensity for breaching, sometimes in a spectacular manner. Depending on the exact species, the devil rays can attain disc widths up to 1.1–5.2 m (3.6–17.1 ft), the largest being second only to the manta rays in size, which can reach 5.5–7.0 m (18.0–23.0 ft). Despite their size, little is known about the devil rays, much of it being from anecdotal accounts, whereas the manta rays are better-known. Most species entirely lack a tail stinger or it is encased ; only M. mobular has a free stinger.
The tasselled wobbegong is a species of carpet shark in the family Orectolobidae and the only member of its genus. It inhabits shallow coral reefs off northern Australia, New Guinea, and adjacent islands. Reaching 1.8 m (5.9 ft) in length, this species has a broad and flattened body and head. Its most distinctive trait is a fringe of branching dermal flaps around its head, which extends onto its chin. The fringe, along with its complex color pattern of small blotches and reticulations, enable it to camouflage itself against the reef environment.
The devil fish or giant devil ray is an endangered species of ray in the family Mobulidae. It is currently listed as endangered, mostly due to bycatch mortality in unrelated fisheries.
The cloudy catshark is a common species of catshark, belonging to the family Scyliorhinidae. It is a bottom-dweller that inhabits rocky reefs in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, from the shore to a depth of 320 m (1,050 ft). Growing up to 50 cm (20 in) long, this small, slim shark has a narrow head with a short blunt snout, no grooves between the nostrils and mouth, and furrows on the lower but not the upper jaw. It is also characterized by extremely rough skin and coloration consisting of a series of dark brown saddles along its back and tail, along with various darker and lighter spots in larger individuals.
The bowmouth guitarfish, also called the shark ray or mud skate, is a species of ray and a member of the family Rhinidae. Its evolutionary affinities are not fully resolved, though it may be related to true guitarfishes and skates. This rare species occurs widely in the tropical coastal waters of the western Indo-Pacific, at depths of up to 90 m (300 ft). Highly distinctive in appearance, the bowmouth guitarfish has a wide and thick body with a rounded snout and large shark-like dorsal and tail fins. Its mouth forms a W-shaped undulating line, and there are multiple thorny ridges over its head and back. It has a dorsal color pattern of many white spots over a bluish gray to brown background, with a pair of prominent black markings over the pectoral fins. This large species can reach a length of 2.7 m (8.9 ft) and weight of 135 kg (298 lb).
The spinetail devil ray, also known as the spinetail mobula ray or japanese mobula ray, is a species of pelagic marine fish which belongs to the family Mobulidae. It is found throughout the tropical and sub-tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific and eastern Atlantic Ocean.
Mobula munkiana, commonly known as the manta de monk, Munk's devil ray, pygmy devil ray, or smoothtail mobula, is a species of ray in the family Mobulidae. It is found in tropical parts of the eastern Pacific Ocean, ranging from the Gulf of California to Peru, as well as offshore islands such as the Galapagos, Cocos, and Malpelo. Munk's devil ray was first described in 1987 by the Italian ecologist Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara.
The Chilean devil ray, also known as the box ray, greater Guinean mobula, sicklefin devil ray or the spiny mobula, is a species of ray in the family Mobulidae. It is found worldwide in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate oceans, and mainly occurs offshore, only occasionally appearing near the coast. These fish have been discovered to feed at depths up to 1,848 metres (6,063 ft) during deep dives, and are among the deepest-diving ocean animals. There are two distinct deep dive patterns; the first, which is usually only performed once every 24 hours, is diving to the maximum depth and resurfacing after 60 to 90 minutes; the second, which is less frequent, is dives up to 1,000 meters for a maximum of 11 hours. The latter pattern may be associated with traveling rather than feeding. It can reach a disc width of up to 3.7 m (12 ft).
The bentfin devil ray, also known as the lesser devil ray, smoothtail devil ray, smoothtail mobula or Thurston's devil ray, is a species of ray in the family Mobulidae. It is found worldwide in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate oceans, with records from Australia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mexico, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United States (California), Uruguay and Vanuatu. It likely occurs in many other locations in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate oceans. It is found both offshore and near the coast.
The smalleye stingray is a large species of stingray in the family Dasyatidae, measuring up to 2.2 m (7.2 ft) across. Rare but widely distributed, it is found in the Indo-Pacific from Mozambique to India to northern Australia. This species may be semi-pelagic in nature, inhabiting both deeper waters and shallow coastal reefs and estuaries. It is characterized by a diamond-shaped pectoral fin disc much wider than long, a tail that is broad and flattened in front of the spine but whip-like behind, and large white spots over its back.
The reef manta ray is a species of ray in the family Mobulidae, one of the largest rays in the world. Among generally recognized species, it is the second-largest species of ray, only surpassed by the giant oceanic manta ray.
The shortfin devil ray is a species of ray in the family Mobulidae. It is endemic to the Indian Ocean and central-west Pacific Ocean. It ranges from South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania and the Seychelles in the west to the Philippines and Indonesia in the east, and southward to the northern coast of Australia.
Batoids are a superorder of cartilaginous fish consisting of skates, rays and other fish all characterized by dorsoventrally flattened bodies and large pectoral fins fused to the head. This distinctive morphology has resulted in several unique forms of locomotion. Most Batoids exhibit median paired fin swimming, utilizing their enlarged pectoral fins. Batoids that exhibit median paired fin swimming fall somewhere along a spectrum of swimming modes from mobuliform to rajiform based on the number of waves present on their fin at once. Of the four orders of Batoidae this holds truest for the Myliobatiformes (rays) and the Rajiformes (skates). The two other orders: Rhinopristiformes and Torpediniformes exhibit a greater degree of body caudal fin swimming.
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