Swimming with Manta Rays is a unique and magical experience. Manta’s are extremely intelligent and each has it’s own personality. Some are shy but most are curious. Here are some manta facts and how to have an amazing interaction with these beautiful fish.
MANTA RAY FACTS
Manta got its name from the Spanish word for “blanket” or “cloak.”
There are two species – The Oceanic Manta (M.birostris) and Reef Manta (M.alfredi)
The Oceanic Mantas are the largest with a wingspan of up to 7 meters where the smaller Reef Mantas are half the size.
They have the biggest brain to body ratio of all the fish in the sea.
They feed on plankton and eat roughly about 12% of their body weight which is about 27KG (60LBS) per week!
Mantas give birth to one pup at a time and have a gestation period of 12-13 months.
They love cleaning stations and will surround these stations to get cleaned for up to 8 hours a day. The fish clean their wounds
Mantas are identified by the markings on their belly which act like a fingerprint. Fun fact if you take a picture of the belly during your dive, you can send it into Manta Matcher, and if the Manta hasn’t been identified, you get to name the Manta!
MANTA RAY ETIQUETTE
Do not swim into the path of a manta ray – If they are approaching you, slow down to a stop and they will swim around you.
Deflate all the air out of your BCD and kneel on the sand, or use your reef hook to secure yourself to a rock if you’re in a current.
Do not chase Mantas – This will put them off and scare them away.
Respect their environment – We are just visitors in their home, treat it as such.
Don’t touch the Manta – Their skin has a mucous protection and touching them removes this film and exposes their skin to harmful infections. It is also illegal in marine protected environments, and you will be hit with a fine if reported.
Be patient – They will come to you and will swim over your head watching you with their eyes.