; subclass Elasmobranchii, order Rajiformes)
A small family of marine rays most of which are large, with very large pectoral fins spread out like wings and pointed at the tips. A small dorsal fin is located above the base of the whip-like tail, which has no tail fin. The two flap-like appendages extending forward on each side of the mouth, which assist in the uptake of food, are characteristic of the family. Perhaps the largest of the devil rays is Manta birostris (giant manta), with a ‘wing-span’ that may exceed 6.2 m. It is a non-aggressive, harmless species, feeding mainly on tiny planktonic animals. There are about 10 species, distributed world-wide in tropical and subtropical waters.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.