Hot off the presses, a new study has just come out that brings together all that is known about manta rays and their close relatives the devil rays. Over the past few years, some incredible discoveries have been emerging from scientists around the world who are finding out more about these beautiful and mysterious beasts.
For example, it was only in 2009, that Andrea Marshall from the Marine Megafauna Foundation figured out that there are two species of manta: the reef and giant mantas. There might even be a third species living in the Atlantic.
As Simon Pierce also of the MMF says:
Giant manta rays appear in far-flung places such as southern Brazil and northern New Zealand each year, suggesting that long journeys or significant ocean crossings are no barrier to these enormous rays. Giant manta rays reach up to around 7 m in width – much larger than reef manta rays (hence the name). This size increase is likely to be related to the improved swimming efficiency that larger size confers – it may be worth noting here that Michael Phelps is 6’4 and Missy Franklin is 6’1!
And there are heaps of incredible cool facts about manta rays. Did you know they have the largest brains of all the 32,000+ fish in the oceans?
Do they really need such big noggins to chase plankton? Researchers think their cranial capacity could be something to do with coordinated and cooperative feeding behaviour.