Manta Rays: (from Wikipedia)
Manta rays are members of Chondrichthyes, fish with tough cartilage rather than bone in their skeletons. Mantas are among the Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays), in the superorder Batoidea (rays and skates) and the order Myliobatiformes (stingrays and relatives). The genus Manta is part of the eagle ray family Myliobatidae, where it is grouped in the subfamily Mobulinae along with the devil rays. Mantas evolved from bottom-dwelling stingrays, eventually developing more wing-like pectoral fins. M. birostris still has a vestigial remnant of a sting barb in the form of a caudal spine. The mouths of most rays lie on the underside of the head, while in mantas they are right at the front. Manta rays and devil rays are the only ray species that have evolved into filter feeders.
We tend to think of sting rays or the smaller eagle rays (I have dived with both around my winter home and they are beautiful) when we picture a "ray" but they pale in comparison to the majestic Manta. While the sting ray can grow a wingspan of 4 or 5 feet, the Manta will spread 18 to 23 feet! They prefer warmer water and are more often seen the in the Pacific than in the Atlantic or Caribbean. (There have been rare sightings in the Western Caribbean.)
Here are a couple more pictures of these amazing fish and a video of them doing what they do..... it's pretty neat!
The video link is below:
Click here for the video - and turn on your sound! MANTAS FLYING
Hope you enjoyed watching these interesting critters!
Until next time,