An amazing video of titled Gigantic School of Rays from National Geographic. A record-breaking school of Mobula rays has arrived off the coast of Baja California. Some of them are even flying over the sea surface!
It’s not uncommon for these amazing marine animals to perform incredible surface acrobatics. High jumps, twists, turns and belly flops are all part of their show, as shown in the video above. They tend to swim in schools of a hundred or more fish, especially while feeding.
Mobula is a genus of ray in the family Mobulidae found worldwide in tropical and warm temperate seas. They are closely related to sharks. Batoidea is a superorder of cartilaginous fish commonly known as rays and skates, approximately 560 described species in thirteen families.
There is still plenty that experts don’t know about the family, including details of their evolutionary history and population structures. They tend to be shy and avoid people, so studying them can be difficult.
Huge groups of these fish regularly gather together to leap out of the sea and launch themselves into the air. During the springtime, when the currents change and bring large sums of plankton and nutrients to the surface from the depths, the largest gathering of rays occurs. During this time the schools can number in the tens of thousands of rays and be over a kilometer long.
In the video above, most of them are over 2 meters (6.5 feet) from tip to tip, as explained in the video.
Most Batoidea species live on the seafloor, in a variety of geographical regions – many in coastal waters, few live in deep waters to at least 3,000 meters (9,800 ft), most batoids have a somewhat cosmopolitan distribution, in tropical and subtropical marine environments, temperate or cold-water species. Only a few species, like manta rays, live in the open sea, and only a few live in freshwater.
Mobula is a genus of ray in the family Myliobatidae (eagle rays). They are referred to as “devil rays”,” “eagle rays”, or “flying mobula” or simply “flying rays”, due to their propensity for breaching, sometimes in a spectacular manner.
They have cephalic fins, which are two frontal lobes that extend from the sides of their mouth and help funnel water and food into their mouth, just like their larger Manta ray cousins. But, unlike their cousins, the lobes of these Mobula rays do not unroll into flat fins. When viewed from above these modified fins look a bit like horns, which is where the nickname “Devil Ray” comes from. However, they have actually a very peaceful nature and are completely harmless.
Their large, flat, diamond-shaped bodies and long fins allow them to glide through the water – and also through the air.
It is estimated that they give birth to only one pup every 3-5 years.
Their main predator in nature is Orca.
Mobula rays in the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortés) have been reported to reach as high as 2 meters (6.5 feet) above the sea.
Mobula Rays are near-threatened
Their conservation status has been labeled as Near-Threatened on the IUCN red list since 2006 (The Red List of Threatened Species, founded in 1964, is the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species. It uses a set of criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species and subspecies).
- Mobula on Wikipedia
- 9 Facts About Devil Rays on PADI.com
- Mobula Ray on National Geographic Kids website
- “The spectacular display of the Mobula ray” on the Natural History Museum website
- “The Magnificent Mobula Rays of Baja California, Mexico” on the Dive Ninja Expeditions website