Mobula japanica (Müller & Henle, 1841)
Spinetail mobula
photo by Khan, M.M.

Family:  Myliobatidae (Eagle and manta rays), subfamily: Mobulinae
Max. size:  310 cm WD (male/unsexed); 240 cm WD (female)
Environment:  reef-associated
Distribution:  Indo-Pacific: off South Africa, the Arabian Sea eastward to the Hawaiian Islands and Polynesia. Eastern Pacific: on the continental coast. Eastern Atlantic: Côte d'Ivoire but may probably be more wide-ranging. This has to be critically compared with Mobula mobular of the Mediterranean Sea and nominally elsewhere in the North Atlantic.
Diagnosis:  Dark blue to black above, white below. Inner surface of cephalic fins silver grey with black tip, outer surface and side behind eye white (Ref. 11228). Shared characters between M. rancureli and Mobula japanica: teeth, placoid scales, and branchial filter morphologies, morphometrics, presence of tail spine, distinctive shape and coloration of dorsal fin, and general shape of body and coloration (Ref. 50641).
Biology:  Found inshore, possibly in oceanic waters (Ref. 9911). Pelagic (Ref. 58302). Occurs singly or in groups (Ref. 9911). Feeds mainly on euphausiids (mainly Nictiphanes simplex), and to a lesser extent on copepods and crustacean larvae. May also feed on small fishes. Ovoviviparous (Ref. 50449). Acoustic tracks record the species to spend time above the thermocline at night to feed on krill (H. Dewar, pers.comm. 05/2000). Very common by-catch of the gillnet fisheries targeting skpjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis). Utilized for its gill filter plates (very high value), meat, cartilage and skin (Ref.58048).
IUCN Red List Status: Near Threatened (NT); Date assessed: 31 January 2006 Ref. (120744)
Threat to humans:  harmless
Country info:   

Entered by: Froese, Rainer - 01.05.91
Modified by: Capuli, Estelita Emily - 03.08.17
Checked by: Capuli, Estelita Emily - 03.08.17

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