Manta ray

Species profile

Name: Manta rays are large species of rays belonging to the genus Manta. There are two species of manta – the giant oceanic manta ray (Manta birostris) and the smaller reef manta ray (Manta alfredi).

Appearance: manta rays have broad heads, large triangular pectoral fins, and horn-shaped fins on either side of their mouths. They are typically black or dark in colour with pale markings on their ‘shoulders’ and white underneath.

Size: the giant oceanic manta ray reaches up to 7.0 metres in width while the smaller reef manta ray reaches around 5.5 metres.

Diet: both species of manta are filter feeders and eat large quantities of zooplankton which they swallow with open mouths as they swim.

Did you know: mantas visit cleaning stations for the removal of parasites and, like whales, they breach for unknown reasons. Manta rays have one of the highest brain-to-body mass ratios and the largest brain size of all fish. They have been recorded diving to depths of over 400 metres.

Location: mantas are found in tropical and subtropical waters in all of the world’s major oceans and temperate seas. Giant oceanic mantas live mostly in the open ocean, travelling with the currents and migrating to areas of nutrient-rich water, while reef mantas tend to be resident in coastal areas.

Best places to see manta rays

According to reports submitted to WildSide, the best places to see manta rays are as follows:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
Isla de la Plata
Ecuador
50%
average
4.6
very good
5
reports
Galapagos Islands
Ecuador
0%
very low
4.8
very good
2
reports
Osa Peninsula
Costa Rica
0%
very low
4.5
very good
1
reports
Mirissa
Sri Lanka
0%
very low
4.0
very good
2
reports