Mobula hypostoma 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Rajiformes Mobulidae

Scientific Name: Mobula hypostoma (Bancroft, 1831)
Common Name(s):
English Atlantic Devilray, Lesser Devil Ray
French Diable GĂ©ant
Spanish Manta del Golfo
Cephalopterus hypostomus Bancroft, 1831
Taxonomic Notes: Similarity of morphology among mobulids may account for common misidentification of this ray. McEachran and Carvalho (2002) indicate that records from the eastern Atlantic are actually M. rochebrunei.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2008-12-01
Assessor(s): Bizzarro, J., Smith, W., Baum, J., Domingo, A. & Menni, R.
Reviewer(s): Valenti, S.V., Kyne, P.M. & SSG Pelagic Shark Workshop participants (Shark Red List Authority)
The Atlantic Devilray (Mobula hypostoma) is endemic to the western Atlantic, found from North Carolina (USA) to northern Argentina, including the Gulf of Mexico, and Greater and Lesser Antilles. This small sized devil ray (reaches a maximum size of 120 cm disc width) is primarily pelagic in coastal waters, although it occasionally enters oceanic waters. It is taken as bycatch in longline, net and possibly other fisheries, but very little specific information is currently available on its capture, abundance and population trends from across its range. Although trawl survey data from the east coast of the USA suggests possible increasing trends there, this represents the northern extent of its range, and further information is required on its abundance and interaction with fisheries from the Caribbean Sea and South America. This species is therefore assessed as Data Deficient until population trends and the impact of fisheries can be determined.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Northwest (marginally), western central and southwest Atlantic: distributed from Cape Lookout, North Carolina (USA), south through the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean to Brazil (including Fernando de Noronha Archipelago) and Uruguay, with one record from Mar del Plata, Argentina (Bigelow and Schroeder 1953, Cousseau and Menni 1983, McEachran and Carvalho 2002, Cousseau and Menni 1983, Soto 1997).
Countries occurrence:
Antigua and Barbuda; Argentina; Bahamas; Barbados; Brazil; Cuba; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Haiti; Jamaica; Martinique; Mexico; Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico (main island)); Saint Lucia; United States (Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina); Uruguay
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – western central; Atlantic – northwest; Atlantic – southwest
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Little information is currently available on abundance and population trends of this species throughout its range. At the time of writing, information was only available from the southern and northern extent of this species' distribution, and further information is required from throughout the rest of its range. Most published information on this species from Brazil refers to occurrence (Lessa 1986, Juras et al. 1987, Lessa et al. 1995, Menni and Stehmann 2000). In Uruguay, towards the southern extent of its range, it is only occasionally captured in longline fisheries. Data from Uruguay's national observer programme indicate that an average of 4.4 individuals per year were recorded during a 10-year period, 80% of which were released, suggesting that these fisheries are not a threat to the species (A. Domingo pers. obs. 2008). On the east coast of the U.S.A., at the northern extent of its range, the Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program is a research trawl survey that has been conducted each spring, summer, and fall since 1989 from approximately Cape Lookout to Cape Canaveral (available at: Through 2005, this survey captured the Atlantic devilray in 15 of the 17 survey years (n = 113), and the estimated instantaneous rate of change in the survey was 0.105 (95% CI: 0.037-0.173), suggesting that the species has been increasing in this region (Myers et al. unpublished data).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species occurs pelagicaly in coastal and occasionally oceanic waters (McEachran and Carvalho 2002), and travels in schools (Robbins et al. 1986). As with all myliobatoid rays, the reproductive mode of M. hypostoma is aplacental viviparity, with embryonic nutrition supplied from a protein- and lipid-rich histotroph from highly developed trophonemata. One pup is produced per litter (Bigelow and Schroeder 1953). Long resting periods may account for extended reproductive cycles in mobulid species. The maximum recorded size is 120 cm disc width (DW); males mature at 114 cm DW and females mature at 111 cm DW (McEachran and Carvalho 2002). Size at birth is 55 cm DW (McEachran and Carvalho 2002), but nothing else is known of its life history. Prey items include zooplankton, small pelagic crustaceans, and ray-finned fishes (McEachran and Carvalho 2002).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Mobulid rays in the Western Central Atlantic are utilized in some areas for their flesh, which is salted and marketed. Other body parts are sometimes used for the production of oil.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): None of the Western Atlantic devil ray species are abundant enough to be considered of significant commercial interest to fisheries; however they are taken as bycatch in longline and net fisheries (McEachran and Carvalho 2002). This species may be susceptible to capture in surface gill nets, longlines, purse seines and directed harpoons, like other mobulid species. Very little specific information is currently available on the capture of this species in fisheries throughout its range. It is known to be occasionally taken incidentally in pelagic longline fisheries off Brazil and Uruguay, where it is typically discarded at sea (Amorim et al. 1998, A. Domingo pers. obs. 2008). The catch per unit of effort of Mobula spp, (probably consisting at least partially of M. hypostoma) by the pelagic longline fishery in an expansive, oceanic area of the southwestern Atlantic during 1998-2007 (among > 2.800.000 hooks) was 0.00001 individuals/ 1000 hooks. Mobulid rays appear to be particularly susceptible to overfishing as their fecundity is the lowest of all elasmobranchs (with litter sizes of typically only one pup and a reproductive periodicity of 1-3 years (White et al. 2006)). Therefore, further information is required on the interaction of this species with fisheries throughout its range, particularly in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and northern coasts of South America.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Assessment of catches and the impact of fisheries on this species throughout its range are required.

The development and implementation of management plans (national and/or regional e.g., under the FAO International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks: IPOA-Sharks) are required to facilitate the conservation and sustainable management of all chondrichthyan species across the regions where this ray occurs.

Citation: Bizzarro, J., Smith, W., Baum, J., Domingo, A. & Menni, R. 2009. Mobula hypostoma. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T161737A5492018. . Downloaded on 18 June 2018.
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