(page 77)


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The devil rays, like the sting rays (p. 74) and cow-nosed rays (p. 76) have the pectoral fins interrupted along the sides of the head close behind the eyes. But they differ very noticeably from the others mentioned above in the shape of the anterior parts of the pectorals, for these are in the form of two separate narrow ear-like fins, set vertically and curving forward from the front of the head. They are further unique among skates and rays in the fact that they feed on small pelagic animals, which they sift, by a complex sieve-like modification of their gill arches, out of the water that is gulped in by the mouth and passed out via the gill clefts. Some of them are the largest of the rays and among the largest of fishes. Being tropical-subtropical in nature they have no real place in the fish fauna of our Gulf, but Manta, the largest of them all, has been known to reach Georges Bank as a stray from warmer latitudes.