Common Name: Manta Ray

Scientific Name: Manta birostris

Kingdom: Animilia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Choribrichthyes

Order: Rajiformes

Family: Mobulidae

Genus: Manta

Species: M. bistrosis

 

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A manta ray is similar to a big blanket in the sea. An adult manta ray's general disk size can be up to 9 meters. At birth, its disk is about 2 meters wide. Its coloration is dark brown to black on top and usually a white or crème colored underneath. Some Identifying characteristics are that some believe the manta ray looks like a big under-water bat. Other distinguishing features is it has a thin tail that makes the animal look somewhat like a kite. That concludes the general description of manta rays. The habitat of the manta ray is warmer oceans. They live in tropical seas, both close to shore and farther away. They do well in the ecosystem because they do not really cause a disturbance and they mostly get along with all the fishes. They are very interesting to research and look up because they are a larger version of their very close and a lot more aggressive cousin, the stingray. These animals are magnificent! They glide like eagle's in the sky. They live all over in tropical seas and warmer oceans.

 

 The manta ray population in the gulf of California for the year 2000 was about 177,220. Imagine how many huge blankets gliding around the seas all around the world there are. The manta population is shrinking but it is not officially declared endangered. Some of the things that are contributing to the changes are illegal fishing for manta rays. This wonderful creature's body is cut up for money. A fin for this animal is about $200. Another change is local growth and natural things like predation or dying from pollution. The manta ray has a lot of its kind around the world, but that could change in a couple of years. The manta ray eats plankton and small fish. The animals that they compete for food with is the whale and smaller fish that eat the even smaller fish that the manta ray likes to eat. The predators of manta rays are large sharks and occasionally whales. These animals and some others might get a nip out of the manta ray. I believe that the manta ray avoids being eaten by being big, intimidating, and swimming fast and gliding away.

 

 Some interesting facts about the manta ray are that it's very big and reminds me of a huge blanket in the ocean. It looks like a bat gliding in the water. What stood out about my animal was that it could devour you in one swallow, but actually, it is quite harmless. They will do nothing to you except entertain you. From this report, I learned they are much bigger than the tiny little stingrays at Monterey Bay (that I was afraid to touch imagine touching some thing so big). In conclusion, the manta ray is a truly amazing animal. It is friendly and kind and completely harmless to all.

 

 Author: Destiny H

 Published: 05/2007

 

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manta_ray http://www.fishbase.org/summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=2061 http://marinebio.org/species.asp?id=49

 

Photo Credit: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1b/Giant_pacific_manta.jpg