Mobula hypostoma

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The Atlantic Devil Ray or Lesser Devil Ray (Mobula hypostomais endemic to the western Atlantic, from North Carolina (USA) to northern Argentina, including the Gulf of Mexico. It is primarily pegic in coastal waters, although it occasionally enters oceanic waters, typically traveling in schools. Little is known about the Atlantic Devil Ray, despite the wide range this species occupies.

Mobula are slow-growing, migratory, planktivorous animals with small, highly fragmented populations that are sparsely distributed across the tropical and temperate oceans of the world. Their biological and behavioural characteristics (low reproductive rates, late maturity and aggregating behaviour) make these species particularly vulnerable to over-exploitation in fisheries and extremely slow to recover from depletion.

Mobula rays are caught in commercial and artisanal fisheries throughout their global warm water range in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Directed fisheries primarily utilize harpoons and nets, while significant bycatch occurs in purse seine, gill and trawl net fisheries targeting other species, including on the high seas. A recent surge in demand for mobula ray products (gill plates) in China and reports of increased direct fishing effort in key range states suggests an urgent and escalating threat to these species.

Mobula can be viewed as indicator species for the overall health of the ecosystem. Studies have suggested that removing large, filter-feeding organisms from marine environments can result in significant, cascading species composition changes.


Assessment information
CMS InstrumentsCMS, Sharks (2016)
IUCN StatusEndangered
Date of entry in Appendix I2014
Date of entry in Appendix II2014
Geographic range
Countries Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe (France), Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique (France), Mexico, Puerto Rico (USA), Saint Lucia, United States of America, Uruguay
Common names
EnglishAtlantic Devil Ray, Lesser Devil Ray
FrenchDiable Géant
SpanishManta del Golfo
Scientific name Mobula hypostoma
Author(Bancroft, 1831)
Standard referenceEschmeyer, W.N. (1990). Catalogue of the Genera of Recent Fishes. California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California.
SynonymsCeratobatis robertsii (Boulenger, 1897), Cephalopterus hypostomus (Bancroft, 1831).

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