The Chilean Devil Ray (Mobula tarapacana) is a large ray found in temperate, subtropical, and tropical waters of the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans in oceanic and coastal waters. They can measure over 3 metres in disc width (DW) and like most rays have a dark dorsal side and a creamy underbelly.
Also known as the Box Ray, Devil Ray, Greater Guinean Mobula, Sicklefin Devil Ray, and Spiny Mobula, they are either solitary or in schools. They are an "aplacental, live-bearing matrotroph" which means the embryo receives nourishment from uterine milk. Yummy!
These devil rays, like others, are sensitive to fishing pressure because they have low post-release survival rate. This, combined with them only producing around one pup per year, means their population can be severely impacted by even low fishing pressure. The increase in international trade of their gill plates has led to a largely unregulated and unmonitored fisheries for this particular demand worldwide, especially because of their recent CITES Appendix II listing, which made it harder for people to obtain the gill plates. The Chilean Devil Ray is also taken as bycatch of gillnet, purse seine, and longline fisheries its range and is targeted opportunistically in fisheries in Peru, western Africa, and Indonesia for both meat and gill plates. The Chilean Devil Ray is suspected to have declined by at least 30% over the past three generations (30 years) throughout its global range This is why they are being assessed as Vulnerable (VU) by the IUCN.
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