When it comes to sea dwelling animals, many people picture these creatures submerged in water all of the time. However, could it be possible for them to fly? In the case of the Mobula Ray, the answer is yes. This 17 foot long flat bodied ray, weighing over a ton, has the ability to launch itself out of the ocean. This makes them the second largest species of manta ray, and despite this immense size, they can jump as high as six and a half feet out of the water.
These talented creatures are found mainly off the Mexico’s eastern shore in the Sea of Cortez, and are one of four species of manta ray occupying the area. The one question that remains: Why do these animals leap out of the water in such incredible fashion?
Some ideas that may answer this question have been proposed. It could be a method of detaching parasite-cleaning remoras from their backside, a form of co-operative hunting, a way of tricking their prey to obtain easy food, or even just a form of play. Despite extensive research, this remains a mystery.
What we do know is that this behavior has proven to be dangerous. One afternoon, a woman in Florida was killed when a ray leaped into the boat she was on, and struck her. Due to its immense size, this type of incident will almost always prove to be fatal. Thus, those who choose to share their fascination through spectacular pictures and videos posted on the internet must do so at their own risk!
- “Is It a Bird? Is It a Plane? No, It’s a Flying Mobula Ray Soaring High off the Mexican Shore”, Mail Online. 26 Sept. 2011.