Manta rays are one of the most easily identified fish off tropical shores, owing to their large, triangular pectoral 'wings' that can span up to nearly 7m. Several fish species, including wrasse and remora, share symbiotic relationships with manta rays, ridding the ray of parasites, dead skin and fallen food and sometimes hitching a ride in the process. Fins at the front of the manta ray's head are said to resemble devils' horns, resulting in the alternative names devilfish or devil ray.
Scientific name: Manta birostris
Plankton blooms of the Maldive Islands attract some ocean giants.
Plankton blooms of the Maldive Islands attract some ocean giants, that gorge on this microscopic feast. Amongst the great beasts of the sea, are magnificent manta rays and whale sharks.
Huge manta rays filter plankton when swarms rise to the surface.
One very big filter feeder is the manta ray, 18 feet across. It often feed at night when dense swarms of plankton more up towards the surface. The water is channelled into its mouth by the blades on either side of its head and then passes through filters in the slits on the sides of its throat.
The Manta ray can be found in a number of locations including: Great Barrier Reef. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.
The following habitats are found across the Manta ray distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
Population trend: Unknown
Year assessed: 2006
Classified by: IUCN 3.1