Chilean Devil Rays are among Natural World’s Deepest Divers

Chilean Devil Rays are among Natural World’s Deepest Divers

It was earlier believed that rays are surface-dwellers. But a recent study has changed that belief as it has been found that they are one of the natural world's deepest divers.

Researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts carried out an experiment with an aim to know whether they swam. As per which, they attached data recorders to 15 Chilean devil rays in the mid-Atlantic.

The recorders tracked the rays' movements for nine months and provided the information through satellite. The investigation unveiled that rays were diving up to the depths of 1,896 metres and in water temperatures of just 3.6 degrees Celsius.

Thorrold said Chilean devil rays can be counted among the deepest diving ocean animals. Researchers said the rays were also excellent travelers covering around 49km per day. Its population remains threatened as a large number of rays are killed for their gills in Asia, being used for traditional medicine.

Before the study was carried out, it was considered that Chilean devil rays can dive deeper than 3,280 feet. But the new study has come up with shocking findings revelaing rays diving to depths over 6,000 feet in search of food.

"The fact that they were traveling so far horizontally was not necessarily surprising, but the diving behavior was very surprising. What they're doing down there is the big unknown", said Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

To dive deep-down, it is very important to maintain a higher brain temperature than the surrounding water. Researchers found rays to be equipped with a special organ called the rete mirabile. This organ works like a heat-exchange that keeps the animal's brain warm and would help it function better in extreme cold.


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