The devil fish or giant devil ray (Mobula mobular) is a species of eagle ray, family Myliobatidae. They are most common in the Mediterranean Sea and can be found elsewhere in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean, off the southwest coast of Ireland and south of Portugal.
The devil fish has a limited range and a low rate of reproduction. As a result it is sensitive to environmental changes. The main threats to this species come from pollution in the Mediterranean and accidental, unintended capture in various fishing equipment including trawls, tuna traps, and dragnets meant for swordfish, none of which are intended to ensnare Giant Rays. The 2004 IUCN Red List listed the devil fish as a vulnerable species, but in 2006 it was reclassified as an endangered species.
The Devil Ray is known mainly for living in areas such as Algeria, Croatia, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Malta, Spain, and Tunisia, which are its native habitat. It’s known mainly for living in warmer waters and the Mediterranean Sea provides such an environment.
The Devil Ray has no definite role in the environment. The closest role that a Devil ray has is eating planktonic crustaceans and small schooling fishes. In its entirety, the Devil Ray acts similar to other species of its kind. According to some sources Devil Rays are flavorsome although, due to their sparse population, Devil Rays cannot be sold for commercial use.
Population and conservation status
The population of the Devil fish is 400. They can be found mainly in the Mediterranean Sea. The population of the Devil fish is decreasing due to the accidental takes in swordfish pelagic driftnets. They are also accidentally caught by fishermen.
In order to conserve the Devil Ray, awareness of the harm fisherman cause towards Devil Ray needs to rise. Many state legislatures and governments are becoming more aware of this issue and are trying to bring awareness to the public in order to protect the Devil Ray from complete extinction.
- "Mobula mobular". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=160999. Retrieved 28 September 2006.
- Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2006). "Mobula mobular" in FishBase. September 2006 version.