Manta Rays: Giant Manta

Giant Manta
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GIANT MANTA
Mobula birostris

 

Identification
Dark brown to black above, white below. Pectoral fins ("wings") long and pointed. Two large cephalic fins (rostra) protruding from front of head. Mouth wide, terminal. Tail whip-like, but shorter than the length of body and without a spine.

Habitat and Behavior
Pelagic, mainly in near-shore waters, near coral and rocky reefs; sometimes found over deep water near water's surface. Sometimes penetrates shallow muddy bays and intertidal areas, and occurs off river mouths. Often viewed swimming slowly near surface. May be seen leaping out of the water, possibly as part of mating behavior or to dislodge ectoparasites

Feeding
Mainly plankton feeders, but may feed on small and moderate-sized fishes as well.

Reproduction
Aplacental viviparity. Up to two pups per litter.

Size
World's largest ray. Wingspan of up to 29.5 feet with an average around 22 feet. Individuals may weigh as much as 4,000 pounds.

Human Factors
Protected in Florida state waters. Of little danger to humans.



FWC Facts:
Seagrasses are the principal food for endangered manatees and green sea turtles, help purify the water, and provide a suitable environment for a wide variety of marine life.

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