Image for Food for thought

Food for thought

Duration: 04:07

Nowhere else in the world do mantas gather together in such huge numbers, and even here in the Maldives it is only for a few days each year which coincide with the monsoon. Over 100 reef mantas come together to feast on the large amounts of plankton stirred up by spring tides that draw nutrient-rich currents from the depths. The mantas have a technique called barrel rolling which funnels the plankton into their mouths in greater numbers. An unusual feeding strategy is shown here for the first time. The mantas begin to skim the sea floor and move their fins into yet another formation, away from their mouths to allow them to get closer to the sea bed. They're believed to be feeding on plankton that have drifted down, escaping the mantas circling overhead. All of this points to mantas being able to 'think' and adapt their feeding strategies to the different conditions in which they find the plankton.

Available since: Wed 11 Nov 2009


Alisdair Simpson
Andrea Marshall
Mark Woodward
Mark Woodward
Executive Producer
Sarah Cunliffe

This clip is from

Natural World 2009-2010, Andrea - Queen of Mantas

3/14 Film following marine biologist Andrea Marshall as she studies manta rays up close.

First broadcast: 11 Nov 2009

Image for Andrea - Queen of Mantas Not currently available on BBC iPlayer

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