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Sharks and Rays
Rays and their relatives
Up to 3,600 lbs
Up to 20 feet
Up to 20 years
1 at a time
plankton, small fish, and crustaceans.
Manta rays have been dated back 20 – 25 million years!
Manta rays have the largest brain in the fish kingdom.
They can be individually identified by the spots on their bodies
Oh my god, its Nemo's teacher. Yep, this dude is the coolest schooler in the deep blue sea. But that's not all! Manta Rays have been around for 20 -25 million years and only have about 10 other cousins, all of them endangered.
Typically you'll find them cruising around the Eastern Pacific but they like to vacation in Hawaii and Polynesia sometimes.No vacation is complete without some grub though and manta rays prefer the typical plankton, crustacean and fish diet. Hmm, kinda like a whale.
One of the coolest things about manta rays is their cephalic fin on either side of their head which they use to scoop plankton into their mouth. Think of them like built-in spoons.
Those built-in spoons make a lot of sense though because mantas have the largest brains of all the fishes. Probably why they teach all the Nemos out there.
Asides from being smart eaters, mantas can get some serious airtime, sometimes you'll find them leaping out of the water trying to get their perfect Jordan on. Nike hook these guys up!
This massive, fast ray was given its species name in honor of Prince Alfred, the fourth child of Queen Victoria of England. "Manta" comes from the Spanish word for a blanket. And these flat, thin fish do, indeed, look like flying blankets.
Manta Rays often travel in groups of two to four, swimming wingtip to wingtip. Standing beneath them, a diver might think he or she was seeing a fleet of underwater stealth bombers. But they are far more graceful. The giant manta's broad triangular 'wings' curl through the water like flying carpets. Sometimes giant mantas will race to the surface of the water and leap into the air. They land with a spectacular belly flop and a giant splash.
Mantas are specially adapted to eat on the run. The manta ray's mouth stretches the entire width of its head. It holds its big mouth open like a great barn door as it "flies" through the ocean. In this way, it can scoop up hundreds of pounds of plankton, crustaceans, and small fish.
To help gather this meal, it uses two soft movable horns or 'head fins' one at each corner of its mouth. It catches its food in fine sieves at the back of its mouth. Since its prey comes in small morsels, manta rays have little need for teeth. They have several rows of very small teeth on its lower jaw and non at all on the top of their mouth.