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.

Spa day for the manta ray! 

Here, small cleaner wrasse clean parasites and dead tissue from a manta ray in Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Talk about a powerful exfoliator! By chowing down on parasites, cleaner wrasse provide rays and other fish an important service, protecting them from disease and keeping them healthy for years to come. 

(Photo: Ed Lyman/NOAA)


Feeding rays (and the occasional quick fish) in the Maldives


I’ve just whipped up a batch of silly sea-inspired valentines (with even sillier punny messages), now up for digital download on my Etsy (https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/497927532/sea-i-love-you).

The file is set up so it prints easily on an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper and only needs a few quick cuts to trim them into a sweet little pile of happy oceanic thoughts!

Watch on the-earth-story.com

Ray swimming above coral reef, Maldives