Pygmy devil ray
Distribution and habitat
- 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.
About the fish
- It is a species of ray, that are slow-growing, large-bodied, migratory, planktivorous animals.
- It is a brownish-grey colour, with a whitish underside.
- Disc Width – 100 cm
- The species feeds on plankton and small fish.
- It is an ovoviviparous fish, usually giving birth to a single pup in shallow waters.
- IUCN classifies it as Near Threatened, with small, highly fragmented populations that are sparsely distributed across the tropical and temperate oceans of the world.
- Their low reproductive rates, late maturity and aggregating behaviour make these species vulnerable to over-exploitation in fisheries and extremely slow to recover from deple tion.
- The ray is likely a by catch at several fisheries, being entangled in nets meant for other species.
- It is marketed in Thailand and possibly elsewhere in southeast Asia.
- A recent surge in demand for mobula ray products (gill plates) in China and reports of increased direct fishing effort in key range suggests escalating threat to these species.
- As large species which feed low in the food chain, Mobula can be viewed as indicator species for the overall health of the ecosystem.
- Studies have suggested that removing large, filter-feeding organisms from marine environments can result in significant, cascading species composition changes.