Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Very little is known about the biology of the pygmy devilray but mating is known to take place in shallow water, with each litter usually comprising just one offspring (1). In a form of reproduction known as ovoviviparity, the embryo develops in a membranous egg within the mother. After hatching, it remains in the mother and continues to be nourished by the yolk sac until it is ready to emerge. Like other mobulid species, adult and juvenile pygmy devilrays feed on plankton and small fish (1) (5).
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Description

In many ways, the pygmy devilray resembles its larger and more iconic relative, the manta ray (3). Large pectoral fins, fused to the sides of its head, form a diamond shaped wing-like disc, which it gracefully strokes up and down to move efficiently through the water column (3) (4) (5). From above, its body is broadly brownish-grey, but underneath it is mostly white (6). Extending forward from either side of its head are two prominent lobes that funnel plankton into the mouth on the underside of its head (4) (5). The eyes are positioned on the side of the head and the broad gill openings are situated underneath the front half of the pectoral fins (5). A thin, spineless tail projects from the rear of its flattened body (3) (5).
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Comprehensive Description

Biology

Found in coastal and oceanic waters (Ref. 30573). Not known to penetrate the epipelagic zone (Ref. 9911). Feeds on plankton (Ref. 30573). Ovoviviparous (Ref. 50449).
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Distribution

Range Description

Mobula eregoodootenkee is widely distributed through the coastal continental waters of the tropical Indo-West Pacific. This species has been reported from the Western Indian Ocean, Eastern Indian Ocean and Western Central Pacific. It occurs in the Red Sea, Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf to South Africa and the Philippines, north to Viet Nam, and south to southeast Queensland and northern Western Australia in Australia. It has not been recorded from oceanic islands.
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Indo-West Pacific: Red Sea, Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf to South Africa and the Philippines, north to Viet Nam, south to northern Australia (Ref. 9911). This species is noted as a possible synonym of the earlier Mobula diabolus (Shaw, 1804) in Compagno's 1999 checklist (Ref. 35766).
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Indo-West Pacific.
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Range

The pygmy devilray is found in tropical coastal waters of the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific Ocean, from South Africa north to the Red Sea and eastwards as far as Vietnam, New Guinea and northern Australia. It has not been recorded from oceanic islands (1) (2).
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Physical Description

Size

Maximum size: 1000 mm WD
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Max. size

100.0 cm WD (male/unsexed; (Ref. 6871))
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Diagnostic Description

Brownish-grey above, whitish below (Ref. 11228). Underside of pectorals with semicircular black blotch along middle of anterior edge (Ref. 11228).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Mobula eregoodootenkee reaches a maximum size of approximately 100 cm disc width (DW). The neotype for this species, a male of 96.9 cm DW, was sexually mature (Notarbartolo-Di-Sciara 1987). These rays are ovoviviparous (uterine viviparity), usually producing one offspring per litter. This ray is not known to penetrate the epipelagic zone. Mating and birthing occur in shallow water, and juveniles remain in these areas. This species feeds on planktonic organisms and small fish (Michael 1993).

Systems
  • Marine
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Environment

pelagic-oceanic; marine
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Usually found near the surface of coastal waters (1) (2).
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Trophic Strategy

Occurs in coastal and oceanic waters (Ref. 30573). Found on the continental shelf (Ref. 75154). Not known to penetrate the epipelagic zone (Ref. 9911). Feeds on plankton.
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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Exhibit ovoviparity (aplacental viviparity), with embryos feeding initially on yolk, then receiving additional nourishment from the mother by indirect absorption of uterine fluid enriched with mucus, fat or protein through specialised structures (Ref. 50449).
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
NT
Near Threatened

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2003

Assessor/s
Pierce, S.J. & Bennett, M.B. (SSG Australia & Oceania Regional Workshop, March 2003)

Reviewer/s
Kyne, P.M. & Cavanagh, R.D. (Shark Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
Mobula eregoodootenkee is locally common within its wide tropical Indo-west Pacific and northern Indian Ocean distribution. However, little is known about its biology and ecology, although inference from related Mobula species suggests this species is likely to have a low reproductive output. Mobula eregoodootenkee is likely to be a bycatch component of several fisheries through entanglement in nets, with much of this catch unreported. It is marketed in Thailand and probably elsewhere in South East Asia. Fishing pressure could severely impact this species, and given the lack of quantitative data available it is prudent to assign the species with an assessment of Near Threatened (close to Vulnerable A3d) until its population is otherwise proven to be stable. This species is of no commercial value in Australia and is not recorded as a catch in any domestic commercial fisheries. At this low level of exploitation its population is likely to be stable, and no immediate threats to its survival are apparent, thus the species is assessed as Least Concern in Australia.
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Status

Classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List (1).
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Population

Population
The Northern Territory Government in Australia classed the conservation status of this species as Data Deficient within territorial waters in March 2002. No direct or indirect indices of abundance were available for this assessment. No subpopulations are known. Mobula eregoodootenkee is regarded as locally common over its range and fairly common within Queensland, Australia waters (Last and Stevens 1994, Compagno and Last 1999).

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
This species is caught as bycatch in several fisheries through entanglement in nets. Fishing pressure could potentially impact this species due to its presumed low reproductive rate. It is marketed in Thailand and probably elsewhere in southeast Asia.
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Near Threatened (NT)
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Although only marketed in Thailand, and possibly other parts of southeast Asia, the pygmy devilray is caught as bycatch in several fisheries in other parts of its range (1) (2). As this species is likely to have a low reproductive output, there are concerns that fishing pressure could be having a signifincat impact on the stability of its global population (1).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
None to date. Although the target fishery for Manta birostris was banned in the Philippines in 1998, fisheries continue for other species of mobulid, which are just as vulnerable to over-exploitation (Simpfendorfer et al. in press).
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Conservation

There are no conservation measures in place for the pygmy devilray.
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Wikipedia

Pygmy devil ray

The Pygmy devil ray (Mobula eregoodootenkee) is a species of Eagle ray in the genus Mobula. It is endemic to the Indian Ocean and central-west Pacific Ocean. It ranges from South Africa in the west to the Philippines in the east, north to Vietnam, and south to the northern coast of Australia.

It is a brownish-grey colour, with a whitish underside. It grows up to 100 cm wide. The species feeds on plankton and small fish.

The Pygmy devil ray is an ovoviviparous fish, usually giving birth to a single pup in shallow waters. The young stay in these waters until they mature.

The ray is likely a bycatch at several fisheries, being entangled in nets meant for other species. It is marketed in Thailand and possibly elsewhere in southeast Asia.

References[edit]

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