Key Facts About Manta Rays
- Length: range from 20 to 30 feet full grown
- Weight: range from 80 to over 300 lbs.
- Life span: 15 - 20 years
- Habitat: Stay close to land in tropical and subtropical waters. Stay close to coral reefs and bays because there is more food for them. Because they stay close to shore, they don't have many predators.
- Food: Since they don't have teeth, they eat tiny marine organism like plankton, small fish, and crustaceans.
- Movement: Very good swimmers, move their pectoral fins up and down to move and use their short tail as a rudder to turn. Sometimes, they jump out of the water.
- Closest relatives: Sting Ray
Reproduction and Behavior
- For females, some wait 2 years between pregnancies. After mating, the eggs are kept inside the female and they hatch inside her. They hatch 6 weeks after, giving birth to live young.
The 5 steps to ray mating
- They usually hang out in groups and direct interaction is limited to mating. They migrate together in groups. The 5 steps to mating is typically how they interact with one another.
- They are able to see in all directions and have a great sense of smell to adapt to their environment.
- They can lose their protective mucus membrane if they are touched by humans.
- The Manta Ray has the largest brain to body ratio of all sharks and rays on Earth.
They are not in danger but their population is declining with increased pollution and overfishing depleting the food in their habitat. Many countries across the globe have sanctuaries for Manta Rays.