Hakai Magazine


One Great Shot: Guided by the Light

A photographer captures the ethereal, dance-like feeding frenzy of Munk’s devil rays.

Authored by

by Henley Spiers

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juvenile Munk's devil rays at night

Born during the great mobula ray aggregations of spring, juvenile Munk’s devil rays (Mobula munkiana) remain in the Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico, long after their parents have left, using the shallow bays of Espiritu Santo Island as a nursery. By autumn, the water is clear of plankton—it’s a bonus for underwater photographers, but harder for the filter feeding rays to find food. A green light hung from the back of our boat attracted plankton and devil rays that swooped in for a microscopic buffet. The rays seemed to fly through the water as they pursued their dinner. Entranced by their grace, I used a two-second exposure to capture their movements, which, to my eye, felt like an aquatic ballet.