Some manta rays are one of the favorite creatures of divers! Their impressive size, their majestic movements, their behavior with divers ... they are just beautiful! But what do you know about them? I had the chance to do several cleaning stations with manta rays (Raja Ampat, Komodos, Similan Islands, Sangalaki...), the last in Bali (Nusa Lembongan) was right about me! here are the 10 essential info to know about manta rays !!

10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT MANTAS RAYS

manta above sun

1. MANTAS RAYS HAVE THE BIGGEST FISH BRAIN!

Which fish has the biggest brain?

black manta 3

Manta rays have the largest fish brains.

  • In proportion to their size, manta rays the biggest brain among all the fish.
  • They show intelligent behaviors, like coordination and fromorganization between them.

2. TWO TYPES OF MANTAS RAYS

How many types of manta rays are there?

There are 2 types of manta rays. A second species of manta rays was made official in 2009!

raie manta comparaison récif océanique3

  • Some oceanic manta rays do up to 7 m long and 2 tonnes, on average around 5 m.
  • Some mantas rays of reef (reef manta ray in English) font up to 5 m long and 1.5 tonnes, on average around 3-4 m.
  • A other species is suspected to live in the Atlantic Ocean, but no scientific proof until now.

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3. BLACK AND WHITE MANTAS RAYS!

black manta

Are there black manta manta rays?

  • Yes, there are manta rays that are called "black". 
  • Manta rays the most common are mostly black / dark blue on top and white with black spots on the underside.
  • But, for a reason still unknown, some specimens develop a different pigmentation and almost their entire body will be covered with black.
  • The black manta or "black manta" are therefore not a different species, just a different color.

Or see black manta rays or "Black manta"?

The highest proportion of black manta reefs has been recorded at Raja Ampat in Indonesia (40% manta rays there are black manta rays ”, but you can also find some at Komodo, to Maldives, at Socorro, to Galapagos

Are there white manta manta rays?

  • In the same way as the black ones, yes there are "white" manta rays, but they are much rarer.
  • While black manta rays are common in certain regions, white mantas are very rare and there are no specific regions.

ARKive image GES141693 - Reef manta ray

4. WHY ARE MANTAS RAYS GOING OUT OF WATER?

Why do manta rays leap from the water?

manta saut

  • Manta rays are sometimes seen at jump out of the water (even more frequent at their cousin mobulas rays).
  • No explanation is currently formalized but the most common theories are: a coupling technique for impress the females, get rid of their parasites or a form of communication.

5. MANTAS RAYS ARE FROM THE SAME FAMILY AS SHARKS!

Are manta rays from the same family as sharks?

Manta ray 1-min

  • Yes, manta rays belong to the same family as sharks because leur body is made up of cartilage (not bone) like them.
  • A paradox, knowing that big sharks are their main predator (with the orcs).

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6. BABIES RAYS MANTAS ARE ALREADY 1.5 M!

How tall are manta rays at birth?

baby manta

  • The mantas are oviparous and therefore give birth to babies.
  • One at a time normally (a few rare cases of twins), all 1 to 2 years.
  • Babies have already the shape of a manta, in transparent version and already measuring 1.5m long!

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Video of the birth of a manta ray

One of the rare ones where the birth of a manta ray was filmed. This happened in the Okinawa Churaumi aquarium in Japan in 2007.

7. MANTAS RAYS NEVER SLEEP!

manta ray above blue

Do manta rays sleep?

  • No, manta rays do not sleep because they must be in permanent movement to supply oxygen through their gills.
  • They roam about 70 km per day !

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8. MANTAS RAY CLEANING STATIONS

What is a manta ray cleaning station?

Manta Lembogan 3 x 3 -min

  • Manta rays usually evolve alone, but they come together in cleaning stations so that cleaner fish rid them of their parasites.
  • They swim slowly, get position for several minutes to be cleaned, move away and come back until all their parasites are gone.

Video of the cleaning station in Bali (Nusa Penida):

Video cleaning station in Raja ampat (Magic mountain):

9. WHAT DO MANTAS RAYS EAT?

What do manta rays eat?

Manta ray 7-min.jpg

  • Despite their impressive size, manta rays feed of very small organisms, mostly from plankton, but also krills (small shrimps), small crabs, small fish ...
  • This is the main reason for their seasonal migration, go where is the food!
  • An individual eats about 13% of your body weight every week!

10. MANTAS RAYS ARE harmless!

Are manta rays dangerous?

Manta ray 5-min

  • No, manta rays are absolutely not dangerous for humans.
  • Unlike all other rays, mantas do not have a thorn at the end of their tail for inject venom to defend yourself.
  • They are therefore safe for humans !

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EXTRA INFO: DIFFRENCES BETWEEN RAIE MANTA AND RAIE MOBULA

What are the differences between manta rays and mobula rays?

We often confuse Manta Ray and Mobula Ray, it's true that they are very similarbut they are not the same !

escadron-raie-mobula

  • The most notable difference is their size of course : the majority of mobulas rays make 2 to 3m (while manta rays average 4 to 5m), so if you a "little" mantathere is a good chance that this is a mobula ray!
  • Many species of mobulas rays move in "squadron", while the mantas rays are solitary (unless they gather on a cleaning station).
  • Apart from the size, the true physical difference is that mobulas rays have a mouth placed on the underside of the body rather than the front.
  • Also, the tail of the mobulas rays is much longer.

mobula-vs-manta

Manta rays pictures:

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