Phylogeny of the manta and devilrays (Chondrichthyes: Mobulidae), with an updated taxonomic arrangement for the family

William T. White, Shannon Corrigan, Lei Yang, Aaron C. Henderson, Adam L. Bazinet, David L. Swofford, Gavin J.P. Naylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Citations (Scopus)


DNA sequence data from mitochondrial genomes and c. 1000 nuclear exons were analysed for a complete taxon sampling of manta and devilrays (Mobulidae) to estimate a current molecular phylogeny for the family. The resulting inferences were combined with morphological information to adopt an integrated approach to resolving the taxonomic arrangement of the family. The members of the genus Manta were found to consistently nest within the Mobula species and consequently the genus Manta is placed into the synonymy of Mobula. Mobula eregoodootenkee, M. japanica and M. rochebrunei were each found to be junior synonyms of M. kuhlii, M. mobular and M. hypostoma, respectively. The mitochondrial and nuclear tree topologies were in agreement except for the placement of M. tarapacana which was basal to all other mobulids in the nuclear exon analysis, but as the sister group to the M. alfredi– M. birostris–M. mobular clade in the mitochondrial genome analysis. Results from this study are used to a revise the taxonomy for the family Mobulidae. A single genus is now recognized (where there were previously two) and eight nominal species (where there were previously 11).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-75
Number of pages26
JournalZoological Journal of the Linnean Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA hybridization capture
  • Manta
  • Mobula
  • Phylogenetics
  • Taxonomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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