The Chilean Devil Ray

The Chilean Devil Ray

scientifically known as Mobula tarapacana, is a captivating species of ray that belongs to the Mobulidae family. This family, closely related to sharks, includes both manta rays and devil rays. While the Chilean Devil Ray may not be as famous as some of its larger relatives, it boasts a range of fascinating characteristics that make it a noteworthy species.

In terms of size, the Chilean Devil Ray is a relatively large member of the Mobulidae family. Adult individuals can reach sizes of up to 11 feet (3.4 meters) in wingspan and weigh around 1,100 pounds (500 kilograms). This places them among the larger devil rays, although they are still considerably smaller than the Giant Oceanic Manta Ray.

The overall body shape of the Chilean Devil Ray is characterized by a flattened, disc-like form with large, wing-like pectoral fins. The head fins or cephalic lobes found in manta rays are reduced in devil rays, appearing more like small, pointed flaps on either side of the mouth. The mouth is situated on the underside of the body, while the eyes are located on the sides of the head. The tail of the Chilean Devil Ray is long and slender, lacking a stinging spine that is present in some other ray species.

In terms of body coloration, the Chilean Devil Ray exhibits a relatively simple pattern compared to some other Mobulidae species. The dorsal (upper) side of the body is predominantly dark grey or black, while the ventral (lower) side is mostly white. There may be some variation in coloration and pattern between individuals, but this is generally subtle and less distinctive than in manta rays.

When it comes to social behavior, Chilean Devil Rays are known to be relatively solitary animals, although they can occasionally be found swimming in small groups. They are pelagic species, often found in open ocean environments, and they have been known to perform acrobatic leaps out of the water, possibly as a form of communication or play.

The Chilean Devil Ray's feeding habits consist of consuming small fish, crustaceans, and plankton. They filter their food through their gill rakers, using their pectoral fins and reduced cephalic lobes to guide the food into their mouths.

In conclusion, the Chilean Devil Ray is an intriguing species within the Mobulidae family. Its relatively large size, unique body shape, and simple coloration patterns make it an interesting subject for marine biologists and enthusiasts alike. While their social behavior is less gregarious than that of their larger relatives, the occasional acrobatic displays and elusive nature of this species only add to its allure.