Manta Ray

© Johan Boshoff

Common Family Name

Manta ray

Others in Family

Manta, Atlantic manta, Pacific manta

Scientific Name

Manta birostris

Size

Up to 7 m

Identification

Large disk-shaped body with triangular wings. Mouth in front. Cephalic fins next to mouth. Eyes on side of the head. The tail is longer than the body. Usually dark on top with a white ventral area, sometimes spots on the stomach. Black Mantas also occur in the Coral seas.

General Info

Myliobatidae family consists of 7 genera and 42 species. There are two Manta species. A smaller one found on reefs and a larger one which is migratory (M. birostris). Threatened species. They have flat teeth that are not used for feeding.

Seen on reefs where they are cleaned by various types of fish, such as wrasse and juvenile Angelfish. Curious and will approach boats which are standing still. Viviparous. 2-4 young are born.

Feeding

Filter feeders. Food includes plankton and fish larvae.

Distribution

Occurs in all temperate and tropical oceans of the world.

Common Species

Reef manta
Manta alfredi
Reef manta
Manta alfredi
Giant manta
Manta birostris

© Johan Boshoff