Steve Kessel

Rare 'hybrid' manta ray discovered by UWindsor scientists

Nigel Hussey and Steve KesselNigel Hussey and Steve Kessel tag a manta ray in the Red Sea off the coast of Sudan.

A rare type of hybrid manta ray has been discovered in the Red Sea thanks to the work of a trio of University of Windsor scientists and their research partners in Sudan.

The ray, a cross between a Reef Manta Ray (Manta alfredi) and a Giant Manta Ray (Manta birostris), is only the second documented case of hybridization in elasmobranchs, the subclass of fish that includes sharks and rays, according to the group.

100 million sharks killed annually, researchers estimate

Steve Kessel was attending a conference in Vancouver last year when he went in to a local restaurant and noticed that shark fin soup had been scratched off the menu. He wasn’t sure if it was simply because it wasn’t available, but the ecologist in him hoped the eatery was taking the moral high ground by voluntary banning it from the establishment.