Sea devil: size, scientific name, differences with themanta ray, characteristics and description of the animal.
Common name: sea devil or devil fish
Scientific name: Mobula mobular
Thesea devilit is a cartilaginous fish that has a vertically compressed body, two large pectoral fins that resemble wings and an elongated tail. The eyes are on the back while the mouth and gill slits are on the belly.
Sea devil or manta ray
The termmanta rayit is used, erroneously, as another name to identify the speciesMobula mobular. It should be noted thatmanta ray and sea devilI'm notsynonymsbut they are names that indicate two different animals.
The Mobula mobular species osea devil, belongs to the genusMobula, while the coral reef manta ray (Manta alfredi), the giant manta ray (Manta birostris), the common manta ray ... are always cartilaginous fish but belong to the genus Manta.
How do isea devils(Mobula) from manta rays (Manta)?
THEsea devils they differ from Manta rays because they have the mouth placed in the lower part of the head and have teeth on both jaws. The manta ray, on the other hand, has the mouth placed in front of the head.
Some specimens of the genus Mobula, such as the sea devilMobula mobular, are provided with apoisonous quillcaudal, characteristic completely absent in themanta rays.
In addition, there are also differences in terms of distribution and habitat: themanta rayit does not live in the Mediterranean, at most it goes as far as the Strait of Gibraltar, without however entering the Mediterranean. On the contrary, the sea devillives in our waters.
Sea devil: size
It can reach onedimensionmaximum of 5.2 meters.
Females give birth to a single specimen that sees one at birthdimensionof 160 cm.
Sea devil: where to find it
This species is widespread in the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic (central eastern and north eastern), the Black Sea, off the Irish coast up to southern Portugal, including the Canary Islands and the Azores. It prefers to swim in very deep waters and small groups of sea devils have been observed to descend to depths of thousands of meters, where temperatures are very low and no light arrives.
The Mobula Mobular species can dive to a depth of 600 - 700 meters (Canese et al. 2011).
Sea devil at risk of extinction
The sea devil has been included in the list of "vulnerable species" since 2004, and then, in 2006, it was included in the IUCN Red List of species at risk of extinction due to the difficulty in reproducing this species.
All populations ofsea devilshave suffered considerably from the phenomenon of invasive net fishing… all, with the exception of the population ofsea devilspresent in our central-southern Adriatic Sea. A study conducted in 2014 (Fortuna et al) found that in our Adriatic Sea there is a population of 1595 specimens that have not suffered any setbacks.
In the next 60 years it is estimated that this species could see a very drastic reduction.
In the Mediterranean Sea, the births of the little sea devils occur in the summer, the gestation period is unknown but it may be the longest of all cartilaginous fish. Some authors report a gestation period of around 24 months. One of the problems of re-population, which puts the integrity of this species at risk, is precisely the slowness of reproduction.
Fishing for sea devils is a crime
Fishing for sea devils is prohibited by law. Having a sea devil on board your boat makes you punishable with an administrative fine of up to 12,000 euros. It is forbidden to collect asea devileven if found dead.
This species is at risk because it is accidentally caught during various invasive fishing activities (trammel nets, longlines, bottom trawls, trawl nets, fixed traps for tuna, illegal fishing with explosives ...). In Southern Italy, unfortunately, illegal fishing activities continue to occur.
If in Italy it is illegal to fish forsea devils, at the end of winter the fishermen of the Levantine Sea and at different times of the year, off the coast of Gaza, a large number ofsea devilsused for local human consumption.
In Gaza, in 2012, in a single fishing trip, over 500 specimens of sea devils were caught (with a particular fishing technique called shinshula) and transferred to local fish markets (Couturier in 2013). The frequency of these fishing trips can be completely unsustainable for the repopulation of populations of sea devils.
Sea devil: nutrition
TheMobula mobularit feeds on fish, molluscs and crustaceans.
Other Mediterranean fish:
- Donzella, fish
- Moon fish