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Man Records Mobula Rays In The Ocean
WOW! Nature is truly beautiful.
Ryan Aliapoulios
09.08.17

There are few things as vast and mysterious as the Earth’s oceans.

Although we know that oceans are where most of life evolved and flourished, the saying goes that we know more about the surface of the moon than we do about what lies at the bottom of the sea. What we do know is that they are populated by a diverse array of animals. Among them are the mobula rays—also known as “devil rays.”

Still, mobula rays have an important difference from other rays—they can fly.

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YouTube Screenshot

Not much is known about mobula rays.

What can be observed is that they are four-and-a-half to six feet across and they seem to look like most other rays do. They travel in huge packs when they plan to feed and, obviously, they can be spotted when they leap upwards out of the water. This behavior is commonly called “breaching,” and can also be observed in bigger animals like dolphins and whales when they come to the surface for air.

Still, the reason that mobulas seem to fly seems to have unusual reasons behind it.

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YouTube Screenshot

One of the theories is totally practical.

When mobulas go to eat, they often trawl the water for krill and shrimp—not unlike whales. Still, these little sea creatures can sometimes be hard to catch. According to some scientists, mobula rays may have discovered a way to work together to hunt them. By having some of the rays on the outer edge of the cluster jump in the air, the krill are scared inward and into the mouths of other rays!

YouTube Screenshot
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YouTube Screenshot

Others have suggested the strange leaping is related to mating.

According to BBC One, male mobula rays may leap out of the water in an effort to impress other females. Because the rays often travel in such huge groups, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. To make more of a splash—literally—mobulas leap out of the air and come thundering down, sending out a shockwave that can be felt by others in the group. Pretty cool, huh?

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YouTube Screenshot

Unfortunately, some of the mobula rays’ behavior puts them at risk.

Though leaving the water is inherently risky for any sea-living creature, mobulas face other risks due to the way they group themselves in the water. Much like they themselves hunt for krill, commercial fishing ships also trawl for other fish. Although they aren’t currently in grave danger, any accidents where rays were scooped up instead of fish could have major effects on their local populations.

flickr.com/guitarfish
Source:
flickr.com/guitarfish

Above all, mobula rays are a reminder of how amazing our planet is.

Just as we know little about the ocean, many of the motivations and behaviors of mobula rays remain a mystery. Still, they are worth observing and appreciating just for their beauty alone. Who knew that mobula rays actually wanted to act more like birds than fish?

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By Ryan Aliapoulios
hi@sbly.com
Ryan Aliapoulios is a contributing writer at Shareably based out of Los Angeles. Find him on Twitter @rollyops.
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