10 Amazing Manta Ray Facts
1. There are two species of Manta Rays: The Coastal or Reef Manta Ray (Manta alfredi) and the Oceanic or Giant Manta Ray (Manta birostris).
2. A Manta Ray’s spot pattern on its belly is as unique as a human fingerprint. (There is an international database of Manta Ray belly pictures called Manta Matcher)
3. Manta Rays feed on the smallest denizens of the oceans, the microscopic plankton. (Manta Rays feed by filtering seawater through their gill rakers).
4. Manta Rays may have self recognition, something only higher primates, elephants, dolphins and humans have. See previous blog entry, “Moby the Manta Ray and Self-Recognition”
5. Manta Rays have the largest brain/body ratio of any fish in the ocean.
6. Despite that their prey is so small, Manta Rays can have wingspans up to 23 feet (7 meters) and weigh 2,980 lb (1,350 kg).
7. When courting, a train of up to a dozen males will follow one female.
8. Manta Rays swim constantly and only occasionally stop to be cleaned of parasites at a cleaning station on a coral reef.
9. Manta Rays like to breach (jump high out of the water), but the reason why is still unknown.
And the last manta ray fact is an important one:
10. Manta Rays are at risk from fishing for their gill rakers. (Manta Ray gill rakers are used in a controversial new formula of Traditional Chinese Medicine)