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ESR 43:447-460 (2020)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01082

Spatio-temporal distribution of the spinetail devil ray Mobula mobular in the eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean

Nerea Lezama-Ochoa1,2,*, Jon Lopez1, Martin Hall1, Pascal Bach3, Francisco Abascal4, Hilario Murua5

1Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, Bycatch Program, San Diego, CA 92037, USA
2AZTI-Tecnalia, Marine Research Division, Pasaia 20110, Spain
3Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), Séte 34200, France
4Instituto Español de Oceanografía (IEO), Canary Islands 38180, Spain
5International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), Washington, DC 20005, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The distribution of the spinetail devil ray Mobula mobular in the eastern tropical Atlantic remains poorly known compared to the Pacific and Indian Oceans. We used fishery-dependent data and generalized additive models to examine the environmental characteristics associated with the presence of M. mobular in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Results revealed that the distribution of M. mobular is significantly associated with seasonal upwelling systems in coastal and pelagic areas. Our model predicted the presence of the species in areas where there is evidence of its occurrence, such as the Angolan upwelling system and the coast of Ghana. In addition, our model predicted new hotspot areas, including locations around the Mauritanian upwelling system, the Guinea coast, offshore Ghana and the south coast of Angola and Brazil, where sample sizes are limited. Those areas, as well as the environmental preferences depicted by the model, provide valuable information about the habitat and ecology of the spinetail devil ray. Future research lines derived from this study, as well as its limitations, are discussed. Furthermore, in light of our results we discuss the improvements that are needed to contribute to the conservation and management of this vulnerable species.


KEY WORDS: Spinetail devil ray · Species distribution modeling · Bycatch species · Tropical tuna · Eastern Atlantic Ocean · Conservation


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Cite this article as: Lezama-Ochoa N, Lopez J, Hall M, Bach P, Abascal F, Murua H (2020) Spatio-temporal distribution of the spinetail devil ray Mobula mobular in the eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean. Endang Species Res 43:447-460. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01082

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