Mobula Ray à Nosy Be

Mobula Ray

Mobula rays are also called "Sea Devil". Its back is dark brown to bluish black, often with a large darker mark on the nape of the neck. The ventral side is white.

The sea devil lives from the surface up to 20-30 m deep. It is a species that frequents mainly oceanic surface waters, above the continental shelf. We often see them in school when they are feeding, or when they jump out of the water!

In Nosy Be, it is possible to meet two species: mobula japanica and mobula mobular.

We can meet them all year round in Nosy Be, but the most frequent sightings are during the planktonic season, between October and December.

Mobula mobular is the largest of the mobula rays. Specimens of around 5 meters and 300 kg have been studied in the Mediterranean.

Mobula japanica can reach more than 3 meters and weigh 150 kg.

La raie mobula se nourrit de plancton, de crustacés et occasionnellement de petits poissons qu’elle dirige vers sa très grande bouche à l’aide de ses nageoires céphaliques. La mâchoire inférieure est pourvue de centaines de très petites dents dont on ignore la fonction, mais dont la forme et la disposition constituent un critère de distinction des espèces.

Mobula japanica and Mobula mobular are two extremely similar species: With very few dissimilar morphological characters, they are difficult to discriminate, perhaps even identical, which generates controversies in the respective distributions of the two species.

However, you can sometimes see a white spot at the tip of the dorsal fin of Mobula japanica, possibly a clear area behind the head. The back is dark blue to black, the white belly is sometimes speckled with gray.

In Mobula mobular, the back is dark brown to bluish black, often with a large darker mark on the nape of the neck. The ventral side is white.

In the last few years, mobula ray fishing has been stimulated by the surge in their gills in the traditional Chinese medicine market. Medicinal pseudo-virtues are conferred on them, without any proven scientific basis, as well as a clever marketing strategy generating significant demand. Whatever the type of fishing (artisanal, targeted or unfortunate catch), the impact of the latter on a population with a low fertility rate, late sexual maturity and long gestation can only be seriously harmful for these species which can only compensate for losses over several decades. These reasons have led to the classification as near threatened of mobula rays by the IUCN.