Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Occurs in shallow coastal waters (Ref. 12951). Feeds mainly on planktonic crustaceans but may take small schooling fishes (Ref. 12951). Ovoviviparous (Ref. 50449). Found singly, in small groups, and in schools (Ref. 12951). Swimming at high speed and often leap high above the surface (Ref. 6902). Flesh has excellent flavor (Ref. 6902). Source of oil.
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Distribution

Western Atlantic: New Jersey to Santos, Brazil
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Range Description

Northwest (marginally), western central and southwest Atlantic: distributed from Cape Lookout, North Carolina (USA), south through the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean to Brazil (including Fernando de Noronha Archipelago) and Uruguay, with one record from Mar del Plata, Argentina (Bigelow and Schroeder 1953, Cousseau and Menni 1983, McEachran and Carvalho 2002, Cousseau and Menni 1983, Soto 1997).
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Western Atlantic: New Jersey, USA (Ref. 7251) to Santos, Brazil (Ref. 26340) and Argentina (Ref. 58839). Eastern Atlantic: St. Paul's Rocks (Ref. 13121).
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Western Atlantic, from North Carolina to Argentina.
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Physical Description

Size

Maximum size: 1200 mm WD
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Max. size

120 cm WD (male/unsexed; (Ref. 7251))
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Diagnostic Description

Cephalic fins smaller, tail longer without spine (Ref. 7251). Upper surface black (Ref. 6902).
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Ecology

Habitat

nektonic
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species occurs pelagicaly in coastal and occasionally oceanic waters (McEachran and Carvalho 2002), and travels in schools (Robbins et al. 1986). As with all myliobatoid rays, the reproductive mode of M. hypostoma is aplacental viviparity, with embryonic nutrition supplied from a protein- and lipid-rich histotroph from highly developed trophonemata. One pup is produced per litter (Bigelow and Schroeder 1953). Long resting periods may account for extended reproductive cycles in mobulid species. The maximum recorded size is 120 cm disc width (DW); males mature at 114 cm DW and females mature at 111 cm DW (McEachran and Carvalho 2002). Size at birth is 55 cm DW (McEachran and Carvalho 2002), but nothing else is known of its life history. Prey items include zooplankton, small pelagic crustaceans, and ray-finned fishes (McEachran and Carvalho 2002).

Systems
  • Marine
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Environment

pelagic-neritic; marine
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Depth range based on 24 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 6 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 5 - 69
  Temperature range (°C): 23.636 - 25.874
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.325 - 0.468
  Salinity (PPS): 35.785 - 36.038
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.738 - 4.855
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.110 - 0.130
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.756 - 1.653

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 5 - 69

Temperature range (°C): 23.636 - 25.874

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.325 - 0.468

Salinity (PPS): 35.785 - 36.038

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.738 - 4.855

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.110 - 0.130

Silicate (umol/l): 0.756 - 1.653
 
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Trophic Strategy

Occurs in shallow coastal waters. Feeds mainly on planktonic crustaceans but may take small schooling fishes. Found singly, in small groups, and in schools.
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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). Copulation has been observed to be in a venter to venter position while the pair swims at the surface. Mating reported to last 10 minutes. Litter number 1 (Ref. 12951).
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
DD
Data Deficient

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2009

Assessor/s
Bizzarro, J., Smith, W., Baum, J., Domingo, A. & Menni, R.

Reviewer/s
Valenti, S.V., Kyne, P.M. & SSG Pelagic Shark Workshop participants (Shark Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
The Atlantic Devilray (Mobula hypostoma) is endemic to the western Atlantic, found from North Carolina (USA) to northern Argentina, including the Gulf of Mexico, and Greater and Lesser Antilles. This small sized devil ray (reaches a maximum size of 120 cm disc width) is primarily pelagic in coastal waters, although it occasionally enters oceanic waters. It is taken as bycatch in longline, net and possibly other fisheries, but very little specific information is currently available on its capture, abundance and population trends from across its range. Although trawl survey data from the east coast of the USA suggests possible increasing trends there, this represents the northern extent of its range, and further information is required on its abundance and interaction with fisheries from the Caribbean Sea and South America. This species is therefore assessed as Data Deficient until population trends and the impact of fisheries can be determined.
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Population

Population
Little information is currently available on abundance and population trends of this species throughout its range. At the time of writing, information was only available from the southern and northern extent of this species? distribution, and further information is required from throughout the rest of its range. Most published information on this species from Brazil refers to occurrence (Lessa 1986, Juras et al. 1987, Lessa et al. 1995, Menni and Stehmann 2000). In Uruguay, towards the southern extent of its range, it is only occasionally captured in longline fisheries. Data from Uruguay?s national observer programme indicate that an average of 4.4 individuals per year were recorded during a 10-year period, 80% of which were released, suggesting that these fisheries are not a threat to the species (A. Domingo pers. obs. 2008). On the east coast of the U.S.A., at the northern extent of its range, the Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program is a research trawl survey that has been conducted each spring, summer, and fall since 1989 from approximately Cape Lookout to Cape Canaveral (available at: http://www.dnr.sc.gov/marine/mrri/SEAMAP/seamap.html). Through 2005, this survey captured the Atlantic devilray in 15 of the 17 survey years (n = 113), and the estimated instantaneous rate of change in the survey was 0.105 (95% CI: 0.037?0.173), suggesting that the species has been increasing in this region (Myers et al. unpublished data).

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
None of the Western Atlantic devil ray species are abundant enough to be considered of significant commercial interest to fisheries; however they are taken as bycatch in longline and net fisheries (McEachran and Carvalho 2002). This species may be susceptible to capture in surface gill nets, longlines, purse seines and directed harpoons, like other mobulid species. Very little specific information is currently available on the capture of this species in fisheries throughout its range. It is known to be occasionally taken incidentally in pelagic longline fisheries off Brazil and Uruguay, where it is typically discarded at sea (Amorim et al. 1998, A. Domingo pers. obs. 2008). The catch per unit of effort of Mobula spp, (probably consisting at least partially of M. hypostoma) by the pelagic longline fishery in an expansive, oceanic area of the southwestern Atlantic during 1998-2007 (among > 2.800.000 hooks) was 0.00001 individuals/ 1000 hooks. Mobulid rays appear to be particularly susceptible to overfishing as their fecundity is the lowest of all elasmobranchs (with litter sizes of typically only one pup and a reproductive periodicity of 1?3 years (White et al. 2006)). Therefore, further information is required on the interaction of this species with fisheries throughout its range, particularly in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and northern coasts of South America.
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Data deficient (DD)
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Assessment of catches and the impact of fisheries on this species throughout its range are required.

The development and implementation of management plans (national and/or regional e.g., under the FAO International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks: IPOA?Sharks) are required to facilitate the conservation and sustainable management of all chondrichthyan species across the regions where this ray occurs.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: minor commercial; price category: medium; price reliability: very questionable: based on ex-vessel price for species in this family
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Wikipedia

Lesser devil ray

The lesser devil ray, Mobula hypostoma, is an eagle ray in the genus Mobula. They occur along the coasts of the western Atlantic, from North Carolina to northern Argentina.[1]

These rays live in shallow waters and can be found singly or in large shoals. They feed on crustaceans mostly, but will sometimes feed on shoals of smaller fish. Lesser devil rays are relatively small, with a maximum width of about 120 cm (47 in). They have smaller cephalic fins than their larger manta cousins and have longer spineless tails.

The lesser devil ray has tasty flesh to some and can be a source of oil. They are known to swim at very high speeds and leap out of the water, often a great distance.

References

  1. ^ a b Bizzarro, J., Smith, W., Baum, J., Domingo, A. & Menni, R. (2009). "Mobula hypostoma". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 7 December 2011. 
  2. ^ Boonstra, Roxane. "Atlantic devil ray". Florida Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 8 December 2011. 
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