Manta Ray are filter-feeding cartilaginous fishes that could grow to as much as 23 feet wide. Despite their imposing size and gaping mouths, they pose no threat to man and have no stinging barb like that of the sting ray’s. Manta rays have a pair of large triangular pectoral fins that allow them to effortless glide and cut through the water with extreme precision and grace. Watching a manta move in the water is almost similar to watching a large predatory bird glide in air thermals.
Mantas primarily eat zooplanktons suspended in the water. Shrimp, krill and planktonic crabs are the chief part of the ray’s diet. An individual manta eats about 13% of its body weight each week.Mantas visit cleaning stations on coral reefs for the removal of external parasites.
This was a manta we spotted at Black Rock (South Atoll) at Tubbataha. It was an average-sized manta that lingered in a known cleaning station on the reef. This manta has been photographed by many divers this season in roughly the same spot.