Morphometry and histology to assess the maturity stage of three endangered devil ray species (Elasmobranchii: Mobulidae) from the Gulf of California

Javier Noe Serrano-López, Katherin Soto-López, Rosa Isabel Ochoa-Báez, John O'Sullivan, Felipe Galván-Magaña

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Devil rays of the genus Mobula are subject to fishing exploitation worldwide and are considered vulnerable to overexploitation due to population reduction, which is evidenced by a decline in the number of catches of these animals. Limited biological knowledge on these species has forced the use of precautionary conservation measures in countries where intensive fishing occurs. This study aimed to describe biological data of interest for estimating the feasibility of the recovery of Mobula populations, emphasizing the reproductive activity of three endangered species of the genus Mobula (Mobula munkiana, Mobula thurstoni, and Mobula mobular) in the Gulf of California. Reproductive organs were collected during 7 years of commercial fishing (2001–2007), and data on population structure, sex ratio, gamete production, and the number of offspring per breeding period were obtained. Maturity stages were determined through histological analysis of the gonads for both sexes, and the size at maturity was estimated based on anatomical and histological characteristics of the specimens caught. Considering the wide global distribution of Mobula species, there is an urgent need to apply strict conservation measures, such as established fishery closures during the breeding season or the establishment of catch periods after specimens have reached sexual maturity, especially in the countries where these animals are caught.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1624-1635
Number of pages12
JournalAquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • devil rays
  • Gulf of California
  • Mobula mobular
  • Mobula munkiana
  • Mobula thurstoni
  • reproduction


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