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Giant manta ray

(Manta birostris)

Einstein’s of the fish world

Diet

Primarily feeds on plankton.

Habitat

A pelagic species that can also be found near shore, over reefs and around offshore islands in temperate, tropical and sub-tropical waters worldwide.

Fin-tastic facts

The largest ray in the world (up to 8m wide!), the giant manta is a graceful and gentle creature. They can make migrations across the oceans, finding their way by following topographical maps using ocean landmarks, such as seamounts. But mantas are also extremely intelligent and possess the largest brain of any fish. Glial cells are thought to be a sign of intelligence, and mantas have more of these than a domestic cat! When swimming around divers, mantas can be extremely curious, often coming in for a closer inspection and swimming repeatedly through divers’ bubbles. It’s thought that each manta has its own individual personality and this is reflected in how they interact with divers. There have even been reports of Manta rays seeking out the help of divers to remove fishing line wrapped around their fins. There’s far more going on behind those big eyes than previously imagined.

Manta ray cleaning station

Manta rays visit angel fish 300 miles off the coast of Mexico for a good cleaning.