Manta Rays: Giant Manta
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
Mainly plankton feeders, but may feed on small and moderate-sized fishes as well.
Aplacental viviparity. Up to two pups per litter.
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.
Protected in Florida state waters. Of little danger to humans.
Learn more about manta ray at the NOAA giant manta ray webpage.
Report manta ray encounters to NOAA Fisheries at 727-824-5312; or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.