Beautiful intruders, new brothers?
Hanifaru Bay never stops surprising. When, while snorkelling, all of a sudden you hear a lot of other guide’s voice shouting “woow, look at that”, you know there is something unusual swimming around. This time it was a couple of Mobula Rays, also called Devil Rays, which are commonly a little smaller than Manta Rays and are often seen swimming like rockets in the water, moving much faster than their bigger cousins.
Not long ago a genetic study changed our perspective on Manta Rays, finding that Manta and Mobula are much more closely related than previously thought and hence should be grouped all under the same genus of Mobula and we should now call Manta birostris as Mobula birostris and Manta alfredi as Mobula alfredi. We are waiting for further genetic studies before we will comfortably start using the new name…
Looking at physical features we can still distinguish by the old Devil Rays for having a ventral mouth (upper jaw protruding from the lower jaw), while Manta have a terminal mouth. The cephalic (head) fins are generally closer together in Devil Rays compared to Manta Rays and a baby Manta Rays is generally bigger than a small Mobula Ray…
Bear with us, we will still be calling them Manta Rays for a little longer.
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