Dozens of mobula rays mysteriously washed up on a beach in the Israeli Gaza Strip and were carted off to market by Palestinian fishermen.
The fish are of a similar appearance to the more well-known Manta Rays, which are in the same family, and can reach a width of up to 17ft.
“Mobulas often travel in huge schools of thousands of animals and also leap from the water and twist in the air. Very cool indeed,” said Bob Rubin, of Santa Rosa Junior College in California.
“This observation is strange to me and unknown to me as well. I have worked in the Gulf of California for many years where there are abundant mobula schools and I have never seen a mass stranding.”
“These animals seem to have blood on the “wings” – pectoral fins – which may have come from slapping something – boats, rocks, sand, each other?”
He added that without seeing the fish and looking further into other possible causes such as their stomach contents and condition of their gills, he could not determine what might have caused the stranding.