Notarbartolo di Sciara, 1987
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.
Munk's devil ray is a large fish with a horizontally flattened body, bulging eyes on the sides of its head and gill slits on the underside. It grows to a width of up to 1.1 metres (3.6 ft), making it the smallest species of devil ray (although only slightly smaller than M. hypostoma and M. kuhlii). On either side of its central disc it has wide, pointed pectoral fins with which it swims, and a pair of fleshy lobes protrude from the front of its head, allowing it to funnel food into its mouth as it moves through the water. Its dorsal fin is small and its tail is long and slender, and does not bear a spine. The upper surface of this fish is a shade of lavender-grey to dark purplish-grey, and the underside is white, tinged with grey towards the tips of the pectoral fins.
Munk's devil ray is found in tropical oceanic and coastal waters. It can be alone, in small groups or in schools, near the surface of the sea or near the seabed. As it swims, water passes into its mouth and exits through its gill slits, which filter out small particles and absorb oxygen from the water. It feeds mainly on mysids and other zooplankton but also consumes small schooling fish. Munk's devil ray has been documented to leap out of the water, either alone or in groups, performing vertical jumps, somersaults and other acrobatic manoeuvres.
Munk's devil ray is ovoviparous, but little is known about its reproductive habits. The single developing young is at first sustained by the egg yolk and later receives nourishment from the uterine fluids in which it is immersed.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature rates the conservation status of Munk's devil ray as "near threatened". This is due to its low fecundity and the fact that it is frequently caught in gillnets; its young are also often accidentally caught by trawling. It is also vulnerable when near the shore, especially when it is schooling. Its migratory movements are poorly understood and may relate to differences in sea temperature of surface waters.
- Bizzarro, J.J.; Smith, W.D. & Clark, T.B. (2006). "Mobula munkiana". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2006: e.T60198A12309375. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2006.RLTS.T60198A12309375.en. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
- 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: zlx018. doi:10.1093/zoolinnean/zlx018.
- "Smoothtail mobula (Mobula munkiana)". ARKive. Archived from the original on 2015-09-05. Retrieved 2015-08-14.
- Froese, Rainer. "Mobula munkiana: Munk's devil ray". FishBase. Retrieved 2015-08-14.
- Photos of Mobula munkiana on Sealife Collection