Circumglobal in tropical and subtropical waters
Marine oceanic/marine neritic
Endangered (Highly Vulnerable To Extinction)
Order Myliobatiformes (stingrays), Family Mobulidae (manta rays and devilfishes)
Giant devilrays are rays that have long wing-like fins enabling them to swim as well as leap from the ocean. As part of the Mobula ray genus, these rays are known for leaping from the water.
Giant devilrays migrate together in relatively small groups. Giant devilrays are filter feeders, catching food on their branchial filter plates as they swim. Giant devilrays eat tiny marine organisms including microscopic plankton, small fish and crustaceans.
Giant devilrays all have a black “crescent” shaped stripe that extends shoulder to shoulder, differentiating them from the similarly looking, manta ray. At maturity the giant devil ray will measure out at an average of 6-9 feet wide, but can continue to grow to a max of 17 feet. Giant devilrays are ovoviviparous (o·vow·vy·vi·pr·uhs), meaning that one large egg at a time is developed inside a female’s body for 12 months before giving birth to a live “pup”. Most litters consist of one large pup, but in some cases, there can be two.
Giant devilrays are in danger from commercial fishing methods. Giant devilrays are often caught as bycatch in commercial fisheries operating in their homes of warmer, more temperate waters. Mobula rays including the devilray are sometimes caught as bycatch in gill and trawl nets, and by harpoons. Oceana's responsible fishing campaign works to reduce bycatch and protect non-targeted marine life like giant devilrays.1
1. All Giant Devilrays have a black “crescent shape” stripe that extends shoulder to shoulder.
2. The Giant Devilray lives in temperate and tropical waters throughout all oceans but is also frequently present in the Mediterranean Sea.
3. Typically, Giant Devilrays give birth to one pup (on a rare occasion two pups), every two to three years.
4. Like whales, Giant Devilrays and other rays within the Mobula genus perform breaches or jumps above the water for unknown reasons.
5. The Giant Devilray is often found alone but may gather in large numbers to feed or reproduce.
Oceana joined forces with Sailors for the Sea, an ocean conservation organization dedicated to educating and engaging the world’s boating community. Sailors for the Sea developed the KELP (Kids Environmental Lesson Plans) program to create the next generation of ocean stewards. Click here or below to download hands-on marine science activities for kids.