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Temporal range: 34–0 Ma Early Oligocene to present[1]
Mobula sp breaching, Baja California
CITES Appendix II (CITES)[2]
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Superorder: Batoidea
Order: Myliobatiformes
Family: Mobulidae
Genus: Mobula
Rafinesque, 1810
Type species
Raja mobular

Mobula is a genus of rays in the family Mobulidae that is found worldwide in tropical and warm, temperate seas.[3] Some authorities consider this to be a subfamily of the Myliobatidae (eagle rays).[4][5] 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 (they are traditionally in their own genus Manta).[3] 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. These rays gather in groups and leap out of the surface into the air up to around two metres before splashing back into the water.[6]

Depending on the species, the devil rays can attain 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).[3] Despite their size, little is known about the devil rays, much of it anecdotal; the manta rays are better known. Most species entirely lack a tail stinger. In most species having a stinger, it is encased, rendering it harmless; only M. mobular has a "free" stinger.[3]

External video
video icon Mobula rays "vortex feeding"


The genus is named by Constantine Samuel Rafinesque in 1810 describing the devil fish, Raia mobular or now Mobula mobular. The name can be explained from Latin mobilis "mobile" or "movable", because of the species' migratory habits;[7][8] another explanation is that mobula is a local name used by people living in Azores who call this creature there.[7]

Based on genetics and, to a lesser degree, morphological evidence, the genus was redefined in 2017. Under this arrangement, Manta is included in Mobula.[3]

FishBase recognizes 11 species:[5]

Extinct species by Shark-References:[9]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sepkoski, Jack (2002). "A compendium of fossil marine animal genera (Chondrichthyes entry)". Bulletins of American Paleontology. 364: 560. Archived from the original on 10 May 2012. Retrieved 9 January 2008.
  2. ^ "Appendices". CITES. Retrieved 14 January 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d e White; Corrigan; Yang; Henderson; Bazinet; Swofford; Naylor (2017). "Phylogeny of the manta and devilrays (Chondrichthyes: mobulidae), with an updated taxonomic arrangement for the family". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 182: 50–75. doi:10.1093/zoolinnean/zlx018.
  4. ^ Nelson, J.S. (2006). Fishes of the World (4 ed.). John Wiley & Sons.
  5. ^ a b Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2017). Species of Mobula in FishBase. July 2017 version.
  6. ^ Pavid, Katie (n.d.). "The spectacular display of the mobula ray". Natural History Museum. The Trustees of The Natural History Museum, London. Retrieved 25 September 2022.
  7. ^ a b Scharpf, Christopher (22 July 2022). "Family MOBULIDAE" (PDF). The ETYFish Project. Retrieved 25 September 2022.
  8. ^ Lewis, Charlton T.; Short, Charles (1879). "mōbĭlis". A Latin Dictionary. Perseus Digital Library.
  9. ^ "Extinct - valid species | Species | Shark-References". Retrieved 2019-04-29.

External links[edit]