closely related to sharks but with long, flat bodies and wing-like pectoral fins, mobula rays are ideally suited to swooping through the water - here off the gulf of california - yet seem equally at home in the air, so much so that they have earned the name “flying rays”. mobula rays can reach heights of more than two metres, remaining airborne for several seconds.
mobula rays are quite elusive and difficult to study, so biologists are not quite sure why they jump out of the water. theories vary from a means of communication, to a mating ritual (though both males and females jump), or as a way to shed themselves of parasites. they could also be jumping as a way of better corralling their pray, as seen with them swimming in a circular formation.
what is known about mobula rays is that they reach sexual maturity late and their investment in their offspring is more akin to mammals than other fishes, usually producing just a single pup after long pregnancies, all of which makes them extremely vulnerable to commercial fishing, especially as a species that likes to come together in large groups.
Sea urchins have modified mouth parts on the underside of their bodies called an Aristotle’s lantern. The lantern is made up of tooth-like plates that scrape up bits of food like algae, as seen here.
We specifically don’t scrub the algae in this habitat for the urchins, and I see them on the walls all the time, presumably getting a tasty meal. But I had never seen it in action before last week! Invertebrates are such cool little aliens!
The Okeanos Explorer has discovered a very cute octopus at a depth of 4,290 metres.
This is the deepest an octopus of this particular sub order of octopus has ever been seen.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration noted this is a completely unsubscribed species and perhaps not belonging to any specific genus. Highlighting how little we still know about the creatures in the depths of our oceans.