Evidence of a counter-current heat exchanger in the ray, Mobula tarapacana (Chondrichthyes: Elasmobranchii: Batoidea: Myliobatiformes)


  • R. L. Alexander

    1. Shark Research Centre, Division of Life Sciences, South African Museum, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa and Department of Zoology, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7700, South Africa
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A vascular network, or rete, has been found in the pectoral fin of the mobulid ray, Mobula tarapacana. This rete appears to be a counter-current heat exchanger which, in conjunction with a high level of red muscle, indicates that this ray is warm-bodied. Preliminary results on other closely related rays indicate that retia may be more common amongst the rays than previously thought.