Mobulid rays belong to the family Mobulidae, which has ten species and comprises one genus: Mobula.
Even though Mobulids are amongst the most charismatic of marine species we still know very little about their biology and ecology and they are facing serious threats.
These rays are affected by numerous human activities including directed fisheries, incidental capture as by-catch, habitat destruction, marine debris, boat strikes, entanglement and unregulated tourism.
Mobulids mature late, have long life spans, and they give birth to a single pup every 2 to 5 years, which limits the capacity of populations to recover from depletion caused by human activities or other impacts. It is therefore increasingly important to raise awareness about the importance of the conservation of these animals.
Due to external appearance similarities, some species are often confused.
Here in the Azores we can find three species of Mobulas: Mobula birostris (Oceanic Manta Ray), Mobula tarapacana (Sicklefin Devil Ray) and Mobula mobular (Spinetail Devil Ray).
Located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean (37°-40°N; 24°-32°W), the volcanic islands of the Azores are the most isolated islands in the north-east Atlantic. The extremely unique environment that results from this being the only landmass between two continents makes the archipelago an important point for many species that every year undertake Atlantic migrations and here find perfect conditions to breed, feed and grow.