Flight of the Rays

"Flight of the Rays"
Photograph by Florian Schulz

Thousands of Munk's devil rays crowd the Sea of Cortez off Mexico's Baja California Sur state in 2009.
German photographer Florian Schulz said the scope of the ray congregations was unknown until he and a pilot happened upon the gathering while searching for migrating whales.
Perhaps just as rare is the composition Schulz captured. "I was able to show how these rays are jumping out of the water," he said, "and at the same time I'm able to show—almost like an underwater photograph—how there're layers and layers and layers of rays."

The International Union for Conservation Union lists Munk's devil rays as near threatened, due in part to their vulnerability to gill nets—hard-to-see "curtains" of netting.
Given ray gatherings like the one pictured, Schulz said, "you could imagine a single net could take thousands and thousands."

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