Mobula birostris (Walbaum, 1792)

Jones, Christian M., Driggers Iii, William B., Hannan, Kristin M., Hoffmayer, Eric R., Jones, Lisa M. & Raredon, Sandra J., 2020, An annotated checklist of the chondrichthyan fishes inhabiting the northern Gulf of Mexico Part 1: Batoidea, Zootaxa 4803 (2), pp. 281-315: 302

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Mobula birostris (Walbaum, 1792)


Mobula birostris (Walbaum, 1792)   —giant manta, giant manta ray


Brachioptilon hamiltoni Hamilton and Newman, 1849  

Cephaloptera diabolus Valenciennes, 1839  

Cephalopterus manta Bancroft, 1829  

Cephalopterus vampyrus Mitchill, 1824  

Ceratoptera birostris (Walbaum, 1792)  

Ceratoptera ehrenbergii Müller and Henle, 1841  

Ceratoptera johnii Müller and Henle, 1841  

Ceratoptera lesueurii Swainson, 1839  

Ceratoptera orissa Lloyd, 1908  

Diabolichthys elliotti Holmes, 1859  

Manatia lacepedei Billberg, 1833

Manta americana Bancroft, 1829  

Manta birostris (Walbaum, 1792)  

Manta pinchoti Whitley, 1936  

Manta raya Baer, 1899  

Raja birostris Walbaum, 1792  

Raja fimbriata Lacepède, 1802  

Distribution. This species is largely pelagic and sightings have been made throughout the northern GOM (SEFSC, unpublished data). Pattengill-Semmens and Gittings (2003) indicate year round presence at the Flower Gardens Banks.

First Record in GOM. With the emergence of a second putative manta species in the northern GOM ( Mobula cf. birostris, See Below   ), it is difficult to determine which sightings refer to M. birostris   and which to M. cf. birostris   . At present however, the first record of this species from the northern GOM appears to be a sighting by Royal Marine Captain Triscott from off the mouth of the Mississippi River in 1808 ( Guyon 1849).

Remarks. The taxonomic history of this species is long and convoluted (see Synonyms above). Many proposed synonyms are based on poor descriptions or even poorer illustrations and in many cases the only evidence toward synonymy with Mobula birostris   is the size of the individual(s) reported and/or the location of capture/sighting. The presence of a second putative manta species in the western Atlantic confuses the issue even further. In some cases (e.g. Lacapede 1802) there is associated information in a description that contradicts synonymy with Mobula birostris   as much as confirms it. Until recently ( Marshall et al. 2009), Mobula alfredi (Krefft, 1868)   was considered a synonym of Mobula birostris   and both of these species were previously placed in the genus Manta Bancroft, 1829   until that genus was invalidated by a recent revision ( White et al. 2018). Childs (2001) and Stewart et al. (2018) both indicated that the Flower Garden Banks serve as important juvenile habitat for this species.

Conservation Status. Vulnerable (IUCN), and listed as Threatened under the United States Endangered Species Act.














Mobula birostris (Walbaum, 1792)

Jones, Christian M., Driggers Iii, William B., Hannan, Kristin M., Hoffmayer, Eric R., Jones, Lisa M. & Raredon, Sandra J. 2020

Raja fimbriata Lacepède, 1802

Lacepede 1802