Manta rays are the largest rays and are closely related to sharks. These harmless rays have a short tail and no stinging spine. They are very acrobatic; they can even leap from the water. Remoras (Echeneida) are frequently seen with mantas, staying near the manta’s mouth (even inside the gill cavities). The remoras probably feed on parasites on the manta’s body and eat bits of the manta’s food.
These graceful swimmers are up to 29.5 ft (9 m) wide, but average about 22 ft (6.7 m) wide. The largest weigh about 3,000 pounds (1350 kg).
Mantas are dark brown to black on top with paler margins; they are mostly white underneath.
Diet and Feeding Habits
Mantas eat microscopic plankton, small fish, and tiny crustaceans. They funnel the food into their mouth while they swim, using two large, flap-like cephalic lobes which extend forward from the eyes.
Mantas have no teeth; they sieve their food.
Mantas are solitary creatures.
Mantas swim in tropical seas, living both close to shore and in open seas.
Mantas are common and are found worldwide
Mantas are graceful swimmers. They swim by moving their pectoral fins up and down.
Mantas reproduces via aplacental viviparity. Females give birth to a one or two pups which are about 45 inches (1.2 m) wide and weigh roughly twenty pounds (45 kg). Young mantas grow very rapidly.
Manta Ray Attacks
Mantas are harmless to people and usually indifferent to divers.
- Kingdom Animalia (animals)
- Phylum Chordata
- Subphylum Vertebrata (vertebrates)
- Class Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fish)
- Subclass Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays)
- Superorder Batoidea
- Order Myliobatiformes
- Family Myliobatidae (Eagle Rays),
- Genus Manta
- Species Birostris
- Manta ray printout for elementary school students.
Information Sheets About Sharks (and Rays)
Just click on an animal’s name to go to that information sheet. If the shark (or ray) you’re interested in isn’t here, check the Shark Dictionary.