The reef manta ray is a species of ray in the family Mobulidae, one of the largest rays in the world. They are typically 3 to 3.5 m in disc width, with a maximum size of about 5.5 m.
First described in 1868 by the Australian researcher Gerard Krefft, they tend to reside and feed in shallow, coastal habitats.
They also visit ‘cleaning stations’ on coral reefs to have parasites, or dead skin picked off by small fish. Courtship ‘trains’ are also observed adjacent to cleaning stations.
In Komodo National Park, manta rays are present year-round, challenging the famous Komodo dragon as the most sought after megafauna for visitors.
“People love manta rays. They are one of the most iconic animals in our oceans,” said Dr. Andrea Marshall, a researcher with the Marine Megafauna Foundation.
Lead Image: The reef manta ray (Manta alfredi) at Dharavandhoo Thila, Maldives. Image credit: Shiyam Elk Cloner / CC BY-SA 3.0.
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