The oceans are filled with mysterious creatures, some of which we have hardly ever seen and know very little about. One of these strange animals is as adorable as it is peculiar. The Mobula munkiana, or mobula ray, is a smaller kind of ray — no more than 3.6 feet long, according to the IUCN Red List — and its favorite thing to do is fly.
Mobula rays tend to stay in large clusters numbering hundreds of the species, and are frequently found jumping out of the water, their flapping fins making them look like they're flying for a few short seconds. Interestingly, no one has reached a real consensus as to why they do this. The BBC-produced video below theorizes that they could be trying to scare shrimps, their prey, into the ray cluster. Another BBC feature suggests a few more ideas, such as displays of prowess to impress potential mates, attracting faraway animals of the same species to the cluster, or getting rid of parasites.
One thing is certain — their togetherness is sadly harmful to them. Because they stay in large, tight-knit groups, they are prime targets for fishing. "Huge numbers of these animals are moving through relatively constricted geographic areas and just a few large catches could have dramatic negative impacts on their populations," warns Joshua Stewart, from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego.
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