The Devil Ray, Manta birostris, grows to weights of more than three thousand pounds, and is the largest of all the rays. It has a diamond-shaped body that may be twenty feet across from wing-tip to wing-tip, a long thin tail, and a pair of prominent “horns” projecting out from the head just in front of the eyes.
These “horns” are really a pair of fins, called “cephalic” fins. They probably help the devil ray in obtaining the small sea creatures upon which it feeds.
Devil rays inhabit the warmer ocean waters. They apparently spend a good deal of time at or near the surface, “flying” through the water by slowly and gracefully flapping their great triangular “wings,” or lying quietly, basking in the sun. Their common name gives a wrong idea of their habits, for they have never been known to harm a man or a boat deliberately, although they have capsized or demolished a number of boats in their Herculean efforts to escape when harpooned. Perhaps it is their forbidding appearance and great size that have given them the name of devil ray and made them much feared.
The female devil ray has a single large youngster at a time. One eighteen-foot, twenty-three-hundred-pound female which was caught, contained a young devil ray just about to be born; the young one weighed twenty-eight pounds.