The giant manta, aka Pacific manta, is one of the largest of the rays and are closely related to sharks. These harmless, majestic creatures have short tails and no stinging spines. They are very acrobatic and are able to leap high from the water. The largest known specimen having been more than 25 ft across, with a weight of about 5,000 lb. It ranges throughout all tropical waters of the world, typically around coral reefs.
Mantas are most commonly blackish on the top side and white underneath with their eyes at the base of sides of the head. They have five pairs of gills on the underside of the body and with their diamond shape body are able to gracefully swim through the ocean. Their most distinctive feature are the “horns” on either side of it’s broad head. They are used to direct plankton, small fish and water into their wide mouth. They can actually curl the “horns” in to reduce dray while swimming!