Giant Manta Ray, Manta birostris (Walbaum 1792)


Other Names: Australian Devilray, Chevron Manta, Devilfish, Giant Manta, Giant Manta, Oceanic Manta, Pacific Manta Ray, Pelagic Manta

A Giant Manta Ray in Thailand. Source: Jon Hanson / Wikimedia Commons. License: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

Summary:

The Giant Manta Ray is the largest living ray. Mantas use the large flaps on either side of the head to direct zooplankton and small fishes into their wide mouth.

In many parts of the world, Manta rays are being overfished - mostly for their gill rakers, which are dried and sold as Asian medicinal products.


Cite this page as:

Dianne J. Bray, 2011, Giant Manta Ray, Manta birostris, in Fishes of Australia, accessed 31 Oct 2014, http://www.fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/2035

Giant Manta Ray, Manta birostris (Walbaum 1792)

More Info


Distribution

Circumglobal - usually offshore, often around oceanic islands, sometimes coastal, and most common in tropical waters.

Giant Manta Rays aggregate around Ningaloo Reef during autumn and winter.

Size

Grows to a disc width (DW) of at least 7 metres, and possibly to more than 9 metres.

Females mature at 410-430 cm DW

Males mature at 350-410 cm DW

Feeding

Manta rays have a broad mouth at the end of the head with a single band of minute teeth in the upper jaw. They have two cephalic lobes on the front of their heads that help direct water flow into the mouth. Mantas have gills modified into complex sieving plates through which filter plankton from the water. 

Fisheries

Giant Manta Ray populations have suffered from over-fishing as these slow-swimming giants are an easy target.

Mantas are targeted in many parts of their range, and almost all of the fish is used. Their gill rakers, which are thought to reduce blood toxins, are increasingly being traded in the lucrative Traditional Chinese Medicine Industry.

Conservation

  • EPBC Act 1999 : Listed Migratory species
  • IUCN Red List : Vulnerable
  • CITES Listed : Appendix II
  • Similar Species

    Differs from Manta alfredi in size, coloration, morphometric measurements, and in having a caudal spine in a post-dorsal protuberance (Marshall et al., 2009).

    Species Citation

    Raja birostris Walbaum, J.J. 1792. Petri Artedi renovati. Part 3. Petri Artedi sueci genera Piscium in quibus systema totum ichthyologiae. Grypeswaldiae 723 pp. 3 pls [535]

    Type locality: Unknown

    Author

    Dianne J. Bray

    Giant Manta Ray, Manta birostris (Walbaum 1792)

    References


    Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls.

    Allen, G.R., Steene, R.C.& Orchard, M. 2007. Fishes of Christmas Island. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 2, 284 pp.

    Bancroft, E.N. 1829. On the fish known in Jamaica as the sea devil (Cephalopholis manta). Zoological Journal London 4: 444-457

    Booda, L. 1984. Manta ray wings, shark meat posing as scallops. Sea Technology 25(11): 71.

    Clark, T.B. (2002) Population structure of Manta birostris from the Pacific Islands and Atlantic Oceans. Masters thesis, Texas A&M University.

    Coles, R.J. 1916. Natural history notes on the devil-fish, Manta birostris (Walbaum) and Mobula olfersi (Müller). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 35: 649-657.

    Compagno, L.J.V. 1999. Systematics and body form. Pp 1-42. In: W.C. Hamlett (ed.), Sharks, Skates, and Rays: the Biology of Elasmobranch Fishes. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

    Compagno, L.J.V. & Last, P.R. 1999. Families Gymnuridae, Myliobatidae, Rhinopteridae, Mobulidae. pp. 1505-1529 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 3 1397-2068pp.

    Duffy, C.A.J. & Abbott, D. (2003) Sightings of mobulid rays from northern New Zealand, with confirmation of the occurrence of Manta birostris in New Zealand waters. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 37:715-721.

    Graham, R.T., Witt, M.J., Castellanos, D.W., Remolina, F., Godley, B.J. &Hawkes, L.A. (2012) Satellite tracking of manta rays highlights challenges to their conservation. PLoS ONE 7(5): e36834.

    Homma, K., Maruyama, T., Itoh, T., Ishihara, H. & Uchida, S. (1999) Biology of the manta ray, Manta birostris Walbaum, in the Indo- Pacific. In: Seret, B. & Sire, J.Y. (Eds.) Indo-Pacific fish biology: proceedings of the fifth international conference on Indo-Pacific fishes, Noumea, 1997. Ichthyological Society of France, France, pp. 209–216.

    Kashiwagi, T., Marshall, A.D., Bennett, M.B. & Ovenden, J.R. 2011. Habitat segregation and mosaic sympatry of the two species of manta ray in the Indian and Pacific Oceans: Manta alfredi and M. birostris. Marine Biodiversity Records 4: e53 (8 pages) [DOI:10.1017/S1755267211000479]

    Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Canberra : CSIRO Australia 513 pp. 84 pls.

    Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Collingwood : CSIRO Publishing Australia 2, 550 pp.

    Marshall, A.D. (2009) Biology and population ecology of Manta birostris in southern Mozambique. PhD Thesis, University of Queensland.

    Marshall, A.D., Bennett, M.B., Kodja, G., Hinojosa-Alvarez, S., Galvan-Magana, F., Harding, M., Stevens, G. & Kashiwagi, T. 2011. Manta birostris. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 07 August 2012.

    Marshall, A.D., Compagno, L.J.V. & Bennett, M.B. (2009). Redescription of genus Manta with resurrection of Manta alfredi (Krefft,1868) (Chondrichthyes; Myliobatoidei; Mobulidae). Zootaxa 2301: 1–28.

    Marshall, A.D., Ishihara, H., Dudley, S.F.J., Clark, T.B., Jorgensen, S., Smith, W.D. & Bizzarro, J.J. (2006) Manta birostris. In: IUCN 2006. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 1 May 2009.

    Marshall AD, Pierce SJ, Bennett MB (2008) Morphological measurements of manta rays (Manta birostris) with a description of a foetus from the east coast of Southern Africa. Zootaxa 1717: 24-30

    Mourier, J. 2012. Manta rays in the Marquesas Islands: first records of Manta birostris in French Polynesia and most easterly location of Manta alfredi in the Pacific Ocean, with notes on their distribution. Journal of Fish Biology doi:10.1111/j.1095-8649.2012.03449.x

    O’Shea, O.R., Kingsford, M.J. & Seymour, J. (2010) Tide-related periodicity of manta rays and sharks to cleaning stations on a coral reef. Marine and Freshwater Research 61, 65-73.

    Rubin, R. (2002) Manta Rays: not all black and white. Shark Focus 15: 4–5.

    White, W.T., Dharmadi (2007) Species and size compositions and reproductive biology of rays (Chondrichthyes, Batoidea) caught in target and non-target fisheries in eastern Indonesia. Journal of Fish Biology 70: 1809-1837.

    White, W.T., Giles, J., Dharmadi & Potter, I.C. (2006) Data on the bycatch fishery and reproductive biology of mobulid rays (Myliobatiformes) in Indonesia. Fisheries Research 82: 65-73.

    Yano, K., Sato, F. & Takahashi, T. (1999) Observations of the mating behavior of the manta ray, Manta birostris, at the Ogasawara Islands, Japan. Ichthyological Research 46: 289–296.

    Quick Facts


    CAAB Code:37041004

    Conservation:EPBC Act - Migratory species

    Conservation:IUCN Vulnerable; CITES Listed

    Depth:0-200 m

    Habitat:Pelagic

    Max Size:910 cm DW; 3000 kg

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    CAAB distribution map