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Endangered rays may have unknown birthing zone in Mexican waters

The discovery of dozens of pregnant giant devil rays accidentally caught in fishing nets in a village along Mexico's northern Gulf of California could mean the endangered species has a previously unknown birthing zone in nearby water. If further research confirms the possibility, authorities and local fishers should work together to devise a plan that minimizes the risk of negative interactions when pregnant rays migrate there each year in and around April. The largest of the ray species, giant devil rays (Mobula mobular) can grow to 17 feet long and are known for their acrobatic leaps and deep dives. Large numbers of them are caught and killed as accidental by-catch each year when they become entangled in fishing nets while foraging for krill and other prey in shallow tropical and subtropical waters. Past studies have shown that giant devil rays use the Gulf of California as a mating and feeding zone in spring and early summer, but the presence of a birthing zone there was unknown.

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