Manta Rays, The Gentle Giants of The Ocean.
Updated: Oct 2, 2018
Manta rays are split since 2009 in 2 different species, oceanic and reef mantas
According to Tom Kashiwagi, fromManta Project the 2 species split about 300,000 years ago
Manta rays have on their belly specific coloration patterns that help researchers identify them
They have the largest brain between all 32,000 species of fish
They have a counter-current heat exchange system to help them regulate their body temperature while deep diving
They give birth to one large baby about every 1 to 3 years, making them vulnerable to over fishing
In Bali is possible to swim and scuba dive with manta rays
Manta rays are possibly some of the most beautiful and majestic ocean creatures people can encounter while scuba diving in Bali. Is not a case that we decided to name our dive center after this amazing creature.
Mantas have big heads, with horn shaped cephalic fins located on both side of their mouth, their eyes are also located on the side of their heads near the cephalic fins. They swim thanks to their huge pectoral fins that they elegantly move like wings and they breathe trough their sets of gills which are located on their ventral surface. Their tail is not so long compared to their overall body size, it doesn't have any skeletal support and, despite many people belief, it doesn't have any kind of defensive weapon, making manta rays absolutely harmless.
There are two different species of manta rays: oceanic mantas (M. birostris) and reef mantas (M. Alfredi), they mainly differ in size and color patterns, Oceanic mantas can reach up to 7 meters in width, while reef mantas can reach up to about 5.5 meters in width.
A quite interesting fact is that they have one of the highest brain to body mass ratios and their brain is the biggest among all fish.
Manta rays are filter feeders, this means they feed filtering the water trough their huge mouths, their meal consists in zooplankton and they can consume each day about 2% of their body weight between plankton, shrimps, krill and planktonic crabs.
A common behavior of manta rays is visiting cleaning stations to get rid from external parasites thanks to the work of cleaner fish, this is a sort of an underwater SPA treatment. Being quite smart animals- remember their big brains?- manta rays are capable of remembering the location of different cleaning stations that they visit more or less regularly during their travels.
Here in Bali we have a couple of cleaning stations, like Manta Point, they all are off the coast of the island of Nusa Penida a place that we often visit to give divers the chance of seeing manta rays while diving in Bali.
Diving or snorkeling with manta rays is an unforgettable experience, a true lifetime memory that La Manta Diving Bali will be pleased to share with you.
Contact us if you want to learn more on how to swim or scuba dive with manta rays in Bali.