This photograph of a reef manta ray (Manta Alfredi), was taken by Kyler Badten in May 2017, during a night dive just north of Honokohau Harbor in Kona, HI.
In the last 10 years, there has been an increase in demand for the gill rakers of mobulids (family Mobulidae), commonly referred to as manta and mobula rays. Gill rakers allow the animal to filter food, like plankton, from the water. In traditional Chinese medicine, the rakers are used as a medicinal tonic, with claims that consuming the medicine can cure cancer, chickenpox, throat and skin ailments, and male kidney issues. However, there is no scientific evidence supporting these health benefit claims, or evidence supporting the claim that mobulid gill rakers were ever used before in traditional Chinese medicine.