Types of Rays Targeted for Their Fins

types of raysThe various types of rays inhabiting the waters are some of the most beautiful creatures you could ever hope to see when you explore their underwater world. While most everyone has heard about the many conservation groups working with various governments to stop the practice of shark fin trade, not many realize that several types of rays are being targeted for their fins as well.

These are just a few of the many types of rays that are being killed for their fins. Often, the ray’s fin cartilage is used as filler for the ever-popular shark fin soup. The fins are also used for making various Chinese medications. Sadly, many countries that once protected these beautiful rays now allow mass killings of these wonderful creatures. These practices not only cause rays to be greatly endangered, but if laws and practices aren’t changed, many types of rays could soon become extinct.


Manta Ray

types of rays

via flickr/Tchami

The largest of the rays is probably the most hunted, and that is most likely due to its size providing more product. These amazing giants can reach the incredible size of up to 23 feet wide and may weigh as much as 3,000 pounds. While often spotted feeding in open ocean, this ray is most commonly found in warmer tropical waters near coral reefs and continental shelves where food is plentiful.


Devil Ray

types of ray

via Wikipedia

Second in size only to the Manta Ray, these are also high on the list of those being hunted. They may grow up to 17 feet wide and may weigh up to a ton. They are often referred to as a flying ray due to their love of breaching the water in spectacular fashion and sometimes as high as six feet into the air.



types of ray

via flickr/Amit Chattopadhyay

These are smaller in size, but they are hunted just the same. They are considered delightful to watch and are often described as flying through the water like a butterfly. Despite their name, at least two of their kind have no stingers. They can be found in coastal marine waters all over the world, in deep ocean and some can even be found in rivers.

Top image via goingslo


  1. The situation with manta rays is sadder than indicated here. In the last few years, manta rays and their relatives have found their way into Hong Kong markets in increasing numbers. The body part processed is the gill plates. Mantas filter zooplankton out of the water with their gill plates. Proponents of manta medicine claim that eating gill plate soup, called “Peng Yu Sai,” can aid in the treatment of asthma, skin rashes, chicken pox, and cancer. The erroneous logic applied is that since mantas filter food from the water, gill plate soup can filter and detoxify diseases from a person’s body. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that any of these benefits are real. Sadly, whereas only a limited market existed for mantas before, they are now hunted extensively and in large numbers to feed the gill plate trade.
    Gene Helfman, author of Sharks: The Animal Answer Guide

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