Devil rays are mysterious sea creatures that are rarely seen in the wild. With their population dwindling, biologists are racing to learn more about these rays before they disappear.
Each year, mobula rays, also known as devil rays, embark on long migrations to warm waters around the world, but no one knows why. Their elusive nature makes these rays difficult to observe in their natural habitat. These seasonal migrations give biologists an opportunity to study the species en masse. There is an increased danger, however, when mobula rays come together in large groups. Mobula and manta rays are heavily poached for their gill plates, which are used in Chinese medicine. As of 2016, all nine species of mobula ray are listed under CITES Appendix II – meaning trade and fishing is strictly regulated. The hope is that the CITES protection will help raise awareness about mobula rays and prevent the species from disappearing altogether.