Mobula tarapacana

Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. – This World Wildlife Day, March 3,Project AWARE®, WWF and The Manta Trust are pleased to release Responsible Shark and Ray Tourism: A Guide to Best Practice, the world’s first-ever guidelines for shark and ray tourism operators.

03 Mar 2017

A record number of migratory sharks and rays were listed for global protection at the CMS COP11, held in Quito, Ecuador in 2014.  But, what comes next? 

10 Aug 2015


The Box Ray (Mobula tarapacana) is one the largest of the genus Mobula, reaching 3700 milimetres in disc width. Mobula are slow-growing, large-bodied 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.

This species is primarily oceanic yet occasionally is found in coastal waters during the summer breeding season. It is able to use rapid acceleration to catch small schooling fishes. 

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. The Box Ray or Chilean Devil Ray is classified by the IUCN Red List as Data Deficient, with the SE Asian population as Vulnerable.

As large species which feed low in the food chain, 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 Angola, Australia, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Ecuador, Egypt, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Liberia, Malaysia, Maldives, Mexico, Pakistan, Palau, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Saint Lucia, Senegal, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Thailand, United States of America, Venezuela
Common names
EnglishBox Ray, Chilean Devil Ray, Devil Ray, Greater Guinean Mobula, Sicklefin Devil Ray, Spiny Mobula
FrenchDiable Géant De Guinée, Mante Chilienne
SpanishDiabolo Gigante De Guinea, Manta Cornuada, Manta Cornuda, Manta Raya, Raya Cornuda, Vaquetilla
Scientific name Mobula tarapacana
Author(Philippi, 1892)
Standard referenceEschmeyer, W.N. (1990). Catalogue of the Genera of Recent Fishes. California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California.
SynonymsMobula coilloti (Cadenat & Rancurel, 1960) & Mobula formosana (Teng 1962)

Related content