Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s…an ocean ray! You normally associate ocean rays with life beneath the waves but this individual has other ideas. They have decided that it’s a good idea to launch themselves out of the water and it is an impressive sight.
Rays in Flight!
In this short clip we see a ray propel themselves out of the water at a 45 degree angle. They look remarkably like a stealth aircraft taking off from a military base. It is remarkable to see just how far into the air this so-called sea creature gets. It is a distance of several feet. But then the force of gravity takes over and they are drawn back down to the surface of the water.
As you would expect from such a flat creature, the re-entry is brutal – the belly flop of the year, in fact. We hear the resounding ‘slap’ and the ray disappear beneath the waves, probably with a stinging underbelly.
All About Ocean Rays
So, what do we know about these incredible creatures? Rays are a type of fish with a flat body and most, but not all, live in the ocean. They belong to the Elasmobranchs group of fish and are related to sharks. They have a skeleton but it is not made of bone. Instead, it is composed of cartilage which gives shape, structure and protection. However, it is lighter and more flexible than bone.
There are many different types of rays and these include manta rays and round rays. The ray that is most well-known for ‘flying’ is the mobula ray although they are also called devil rays and are very closely related to manta rays. These remarkable fish are found in warm ocean waters in many parts of the world. They are one of the larger species of ray and can grow to 17 feet in width.
Flying is a part of their behavior – they can reach up to six feet above the water and cover a considerable distance before slapping back down into the waves. Experts are not yet sure why they leap out of the water but suspect that it is something to do with attracting a mate. After such a spectacular display, we hope this ray was successful!
The photo featured at the top of this post is © GUDKOV ANDREY/Shutterstock.com
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