Image for Formation feeding

Formation feeding

Duration: 01:31

With the plankton higher up in the water column, great trains of mantas gather just below the waves to feed. They've learned exactly when and where to be for the most efficient feeding. They maximise their catch by lining up in a staggered formation moving up and down the lagoon to scoop up huge quantities of plankton. As the animal plankton sense the pressure waves from the approaching mantas, they try to escape, but the manta formation leaves the plankton with few places to go. Scooped into the mantas' mouths the plankton is sieved from the water with finger like structures called gill rakers. It's thought that mantas can harvest more than 17kg of plankton a day.

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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