What Is A Devil Fish (Mobula Mobular)?

devil fish

Last updated on July 7th, 2022 at 11:49 am

The Mobula mobular, commonly known as the devil fish or giant devil ray, is considered to be one of the most dangerous fish in the ocean. The fish has been recorded to grow up to 7 feet long and weigh as much as 400 pounds, which can make it potentially dangerous if you were to encounter it at sea.

Its closest relative, the Mobula munkiana, was named after Danish zoologist Peter Munk. Unfortunately this particular species has gone extinct due to overfishing practices in the Gulf of California during the 1950s and 1960s.

Although they are not actually true fish, they are part of the Myliobatidae family along with manta rays and eagle rays. These benthic fish, who spend their entire lives in the water column, can live to be over 20 years old and have an interesting life cycle.

This species is most commonly found near the shoreline or in shallow bays and lagoons. It may feed during the day or at night, but it spends most of its time deep underwater where it’s difficult to spot with the naked eye due to its coloration and size.

Species profile

devil fish

The devil fish belong to the family Mobulidae and are members of order Myliobatiformes. They are also known as giant devil rays, mobula rays, or manta rays. There are three species in Mobula genus: M. alfredi (Mobula alfredi), M. birostris (Mobula birostris), and M. mobular (Mobula mobular). All three species have been listed as vulnerable by IUCN since 2008.

Their total population size is unknown but it is estimated that there are less than 10,000 mature individuals left in their natural habitat. Although they were once found throughout tropical waters of Pacific Ocean, they can now only be found near coasts of Mexico and Ecuador.

The Blackbar Soldierfish (Myripristis jacobus)


The giant devil ray resides in warm, tropical waters. These animals prefer water temperatures that range from 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit and depths between 100-1,200 feet. They tend to stay away from rocky bottoms and coral reefs.

When they do swim over these areas, it’s usually because they are searching for food. Giant devil rays eat small fish, shrimp, and squid. Some of their favorite places to feed include oceanic fronts and other deep-water regions where nutrients are plentiful.


The devil fish is a very big fish growing up to 138 inches (350 cm) in total length.

Why are they called devil fish?

Because of their scary appearance, Mobula mobular are commonly referred to as devil fish, which isn’t entirely inaccurate. Like many other deep-sea creatures, they have developed defense mechanisms against predators in their habitat, large pectoral fins that will send anything coming too close flying through the air.

These devil fish are most active during the day and are quick swimmers that tend to spend more time near coral reefs than anywhere else.

Are they aggressive or peaceful?

The devil fish are very interesting creatures. They can be considered to be generally peaceful and approachable, however they do have their times of intense aggression.

It’s important to keep in mind that they are often found around reefs, so they sometimes find themselves coming into contact with fishermen and scuba divers who provoke them. When provoked, these animals will react aggressively which makes them seem more vicious than they really are.

Devil fish facts

devil fish

Many people confuse these creatures with anglerfish because of their method of hunting and their eccentric appearance. While many are deep-sea fish, others live in shallower waters. Their skin may look smooth, but it’s actually covered in scales; what appears to be hair on devil fish heads is really just fatty filaments.

Red Sea Clownfish "Amphiprion Bicinctus"

There are over 100 different species of devil fish, so you can find them all over the world in varied habitats and climates. They range from 3 inches long to almost 10 feet long! They also come in a variety of colors, including black, brown, white, and red.

The fact that they appear similar to other types of deep-sea fish has caused some confusion about their classification.

Is Octopus a devil fish?

No, an octopus isn’t technically a devil fish. Devil fish is more commonly used to describe Mobula mobular, or devil ray.

Although Octopus is also called the devilfish due to the appearance of eight muscular arms or tentacles.

The devilfish or giant devil ray is a species of ray in the family Mobulidae

The scientific classification for an octopus is Octopoda (meaning eight feet) and mobula refers to Mobula spp., which are rays in Muroidei suborder of cartilaginous fishes. It may sound confusing, but all you need to know here is that both are different animals belonging to two different animal classes.

Why is octopus called a devil fish?

Octopus is sometimes referred to as the devil fish because of its appearance. Men on fishing boats used to think this appearance was evil in the past. And in case of injury to an Octopus arm, it can grow another.

How does a devil fish look?

devil fish

It can be recognized by its blueish gray color. The devil fish has broad pectoral fins and it doesn’t have any spines on its body. It also has an oval disc-shaped head with a protruding lower jaw and big eyes. The size of these fish can vary from 3 feet to 5 feet. The devil fish usually swims in shoals, which makes them easy to spot in their natural habitat.

What does a devil fish eat?

The devil fish primarily consumes smaller fish and squid that it catches with its sharp teeth, but it also feeds on crustaceans such as shrimp and mollusks like clams. Some devil fish have also been observed swimming upside down beneath schools of baitfish to eat scraps left over from fishing boats. Their diet depends largely on what prey are most abundant in a given area.

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Are Mobula rays venomous?

devil fish

No, Mobula rays are not venomous. The term devil fish comes from the physical appearance of some species that look intimidating, like a demon. They also have fins that make them seem larger than they really are. Most species only reach about 5 feet in length (1.5 meters), and their mouths are filled with small, sharp teeth and don’t pose much of a threat to humans or boats.

Are devil rays poisonous?

They’re not venomous and don’t have any poisonous organs. However, if cornered or threatened, they may bite, but that would most likely be out of fear than in an effort to hurt you.

It’s not as common for humans to be stung by devil rays, but it does happen. When it does, the spines on their tails are usually to blame. Since these spines are broken off when they sting you, there’s no lingering danger (like with poisonous fish), so if you experience a sting from a devil ray, you should be fine. Of course, seek medical attention immediately after being stung by any marine animal.

What are Mobula ray predators?

The main predators of Mobula ray are Blue marlin, Great white shark, and Tiger shark. They are mostly seen lurking around during dusk and dawn when they can easily spot their prey. Blue marlin has been known to attack these Manta rays with their pectoral fins and teeth whereas tiger sharks have also been found to be attacking them as well by ramming their snouts into Mobula ray’s bodies in order to bite and then tear out chunks of flesh from them.