What do stingrays and manta rays eat

Giant manta profile
sizeup to 7 m
speed9-12 km / h
Weightup to 2.4 t
lifespanup to 20 years
nutritionPlankton, small fish
habitatworldwide, especially coasts, reefs and rocky coasts
Scientific SurnameManta birostris
featureslargest ray in the world
It must be dangerous!

Giant mantas have long, spiky tails, are huge and swim silently through the sea like bats. It is hardly surprising that seafarers in the 18th and 19th centuries That's why you told horror stories about them in the 20th century?

However, giant mantas are completely harmless. They only eat plankton, have a peaceful character and, unlike stingrays, are not poisonous.

Relaxed, relaxed, giant mantas

Giant Mantas are loners and have no specific area to defend against other rays. They also do not fight, everyone goes “his own way”, which is why they swim peacefully past each other when they meet.

Giant Manta - Photo: wildestanimal / Shutterstock

Wherever there is food, there I am too

Giant manta rays cross the seas in search of plankton and are therefore often seen near coral reefs just below the surface of the water. They "swallow" water with their mouths and filter out the plankton.

Will you nibble on me, please?

Giant mantas don't clean themselves, they are cleaned! Ship keeper fish (fish of the perch family) "dock" to fish such as sharks and rays with a suction plate located on their head.

They do not harm their "hosts" but even help them get rid of parasites by eating them. Sometimes giant mantas jump out of the water a few meters high in order to get rid of annoying parasites on impact.

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"Underwater bird"

Most rays move by moving their wings in a waveform. Giant manta rays look like birds when they flap their long fins up and down.

Devil horns

The giant mantas have two flexible head fins in front of their eyes. They look like small horns and have given them the name "devil rays" (also because of their size).

Giant Manta Ray - Photo: Sergey Uryadnikov / Shutterstock

I have teeth, but I don't bite

Mantas have many small teeth in their lower jaw, about the size of the head of a pin. But they don't use them to chop up food. Biologists suspect that the ancestors of the giant mantas used the teeth, but that they withered after switching to plankton.

The biggest giant manta ray

There is no official confirmation for the record length of 9.1 m, but large specimens can be around 7 m long. Usually, however, they are around 4-5 m. By the way: In Australia there are dwarf devil rays that are just 60 cm tall. Their species is called Mobula Diabolis. Cute!

Giant mantas are friends, not enemies

There are very few animals that have giant manta rays on their menu. These include large sharks such as the tiger shark.

Giant Manta Ray - Photo: magnusdeepbelow / Shutterstock