Manta rays are amazing gentle giants in the ocean. One often thinks of whales when thinking of large creatures who eat plankton, but they are not the only ones who do that. Manta rays are cool and unique in their own manta ray way.
There are two species of manta ray. Both are found in warm waters. The manta
M. Birostris reaches 23 ft wide and migrates long distances. The manta M.
Alfredi reaches 18 ft and stays near it’s home coast. Both species give live birth.
These gentle giants are filter feeders, eating microscopic particles called
zooplankton as they swim along. The name “manta” is Portuguese and Spanish
for “mantle” or “cloak” or “blanket”. Much like whales, they are known to
breach, or leap from the water. They hunt in packs, surrounding plankton and
swirling it into a tight ball that they can dive through. These beautiful and clever
giants are truly magnificent!