Manta ray

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Manta Ray
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Giant_pacific_manta.jpg
image:giant_pacific_manta.jpg


Giant Pacific Manta
Conservation status: Data deficient
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Elasmobranchii
Order:Rajiformes
Genus:Manta
Species:M. birostris
Binomial name
Manta birostris
Dondorff, 1798

The manta ray, or giant manta, is the largest member of the ray family, ranging up to eight meters (25 ft) across its pectoral fins (or "wings") and weighing up 3,000 kg (3 tons). It ranges throughout the tropical seas of the world, typically around coral reefs. Mantas are most commonly black above and white below, but some are blue on their backs. A manta's eyes are on the top of its head, and its mouth and nostrils are on its belly. To breathe, the manta has two sets of five gills on the underside, and holes called spiracles just behind the eyes. The manta can alternate which spiracle is used for inhaling and which for exhaling. With distinctive "horns" (also called cremoriol fins) on either side of its broad head, the manta is a prized sighting by divers.

Mantas generally eat plankton and small fish, but anything that fits in their mouths could end up being swallowed.

Taxonomically, the situation of the mantas is still under investigation. Three species have been identified: Manta birostris, Manta ehrenbergii, and Manta raya, but they are quite similar to each other, and the last two may just be isolated populations.

Mantas have been given a variety of common names, including Atlantic manta, Pacific manta, devil ray, devilfish, and just manta. Some people just call all members of the family stingrays.

See also


da:Djævlerokke de:Mantarochen fr:Raie manta nl:Reuzenmanta pt:Jamanta zh:蝠鲼科

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