Manta Ray – Did You Know…

… That a Manta Ray gives birth every other year to a single pup, or a pair of four-foot pups that arrive rolled up like burritos?

Manta rays are large rays belonging to the genus Manta. The larger species, the Giant Oceanic Manta Ray, reaches 7 m (23 ft 0 in) in width while the smaller, The Reef Manta Ray, reaches 5.5 m (18 ft 1 in). Both have triangular pectoral fins, horn-shaped cephalic fins and large, forward-facing mouths. They are classified among the Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays) and are placed in the family Myliobatidae (eagle rays).

Mantas are found in temperate, subtropical and tropical waters. Both species are pelagic which means being neither close to the bottom nor near the shore; The Giant Manta Ray migrates across open oceans, on its own or in groups, while The Reef Manta Ray tends to be resident and coastal. They are filter feeders and eat large quantities of zooplankton, which they swallow with their open mouths as they swim. Gestation lasts over a year, producing live pups. Mantas may visit cleaning stations for the removal of parasites. Like whales, they breach, for unknown reasons.

Both species are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Anthropogenic threats include pollution, entanglement in fishing nets, and direct harvesting for their gill rakers for use in Chinese medicine. Their slow reproductive rate exacerbates these threats. They are protected in international waters by the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals, but are more vulnerable closer to shore. Areas where mantas congregate are popular with tourists. Only a few aquariums are large enough to house them. In general, these large fish are seldom seen and difficult to study.

One of the most amazing creatures in my books…

19 thoughts on “Manta Ray – Did You Know…

  1. a trick years ago when i used to dive an we’d see em
    is to see thier tails sticking upout of the sand – an come up behind them an grab them on top of both shoulders an they would take ya fer a ride…sumeimtes for quite a long way, an was like the mantas liked playing the game of tug a war, once they found out it wasn’t a game, was a lotta fun..ah but the 60’s & 70’s those were the days 🙂 lol

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    • I agree, they are graceful. I’ve never seen a Manta Ray in real but other stingrays and they are so incredibly beautiful to watch gliding through the water.


  2. When I lived in Nashville I got to “pet” some stingrays that were “housed” in an attraction in Opry Mills mall. That’s the closest I have come to a marine ray of any kind. Digging deeper, I found that the stingray is not very much like the manta ray. I also found out some interesting info about this Stingray Reef attraction and confirmed that it closed after the big flood we had in Nashville, also while I lived there. Comments that I dug up on Stingray Reef mostly mentioned how much they stank, but also how slippery they felt when they swam under your touch. I do remember that they were slippery and slimy! Stingrays are ovoviviparous, bearing live young in “litters” of 5 to 13. The female holds the embryos in the womb without a placenta. Instead, the embryos absorb nutrients from a yolk sac, and after the sac is depleted, the mother provides uterine “milk”.[11]Stingrays are ovoviviparous, bearing live young in “litters” of 5 to 13. The female holds the embryos in the womb without a placenta. Instead, the embryos absorb nutrients from a yolk sac, and after the sac is depleted, the mother provides uterine “milk”.[11]The flattened bodies of stingrays allow them to effectively conceal themselves in their environment. Stingrays do this by agitating the sand and hiding beneath it. Because their eyes are on top of their bodies and their mouths on the undersides, stingrays cannot see their prey; instead, they use smell and electroreceptors (ampullae of Lorenzini) similar to those of sharks.[8] Stingrays feed primarily on molluscs, crustaceans, and occasionally on small fish. Some stingrays’ mouths contain two powerful, shell-crushing plates, while other species only have sucking mouthparts. Stingrays settle on the bottom while feeding, often leaving only their eyes and tail visible. Coral reefs are favorite feeding grounds and are usually shared with sharks during high tid

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