devil ray

devil ray

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also called  Manta Ray,  
      any of several genera of marine rays comprising the family Mobulidae (class Selachii). Flattened, and wider than they are long, devil rays have fleshy, enlarged pectoral fins that look like wings; extensions of these fins, looking like devils' horns, project as the cephalic fins from the front of the head. Devil rays have long, whiplike tails provided, in some species, with one or more stinging spines.

      Devil rays, related to sharks and skates, are found in warm waters along continents and islands. They swim at or near the surface, propelling themselves by flapping their pectoral fins and, at times, leaping or somersaulting out of the water. They feed on plankton and small fishes that they sweep into their mouths with their cephalic fins.

      The smallest of the devil rays, species Mobula diabolis of Australia, grows to no more than 60 cm (2 feet) across, but the Atlantic manta, or giant devil ray (Manta birostris; see ), largest of the family, may grow to more than 7 m (23 feet) wide. The Atlantic manta is a well-known species, brown or black in colour and very powerful, but inoffensive. It does not, old tales to the contrary, envelop pearl divers and devour them.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • devil ray — /ˈdɛvəl reɪ/ (say devuhl ray) noun → devilfish (def. 1) …  

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