Scientific Name: Manta birostris
Manta rays are found around the globe in temperate and tropical waters. Little is known about their life history or ecology but researchers believe they may live 20 years or more. The average wingspan of a manta ray is 22 feet and they can weigh as much as 3,000 pounds.
Manta Ray Facts & Tidbits
- "Manta" is Spanish for "cloak" which refers to their large blanket-shaped bodies.
- Unlike other rays, mantas do not have a spine on their tail for defense.
- They have a large brain relative to their body size in comparison to other sharks and rays.
- Because of their enormous size, their only known predators are large sharks and humans.
- Manta rays are nicknamed “Devil Rays” for their “horns” which are actually extensions of the fins that help to funnel plankton (their main prey) into their mouths.
Manta rays are found in tropical and subtropical oceans worldwide, between 35 degrees north and 35 degrees south latitude.
Hot Spots: Mozambique (year round), Yap Islands, French Polynesia, Australia, Hawaii
IUCN Status: Near Threatened
The top threats that mantas face include fishing, both for commercial purposes and accidentally being caught in fishing gear (bycatch). Some of their parts are used in traditional Asian medicine.
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