Do Mantas Feel Pain?

by | Mar 24, 2018 | About Manta Rays

Today we will dive a bit deeper into the healing powers of mantas and the question of whether they can feel pain. We were able to track two mantas that recovered from deep wounds caused by fishing line/hooks and it was interesting to learn how long it took for the fish to heal.


Between 2011 to 2013 we saw Melainah Ray, a female of ~10 feet wingspan, on a very regular basis. She came to feed at both dive sites at least 200 times per year and often traveled the distance of 16-20 miles from the airport location to Keauhou (and vice-versa) within 24-48 hours. It was cool to see her movements along the coastline as there is not much known about that. Over the last couple of years, we haven’t seen her as much, however, she did make an appearance last Friday.

At the beginning of February 2011, we saw Melainah healthy and beautiful as always, but unfortunately, she got badly injured on 02/25/11 when she showed up with a deep cut on her right wing.

Melainah Ray was experiencing pain. No doubt about it. Imagine someone is limping and that’s exactly what I saw that night, a limping manta. Although she was trying to feed around the lights, her movements were slow and careful. It appeared as if she did not want to use her wing too much; an impossible task for a winged creature.

We wanted to help her, but of course, that was another impossible task. Wounds like this need to heal themselves.

The good news is that Melainah Ray was seen the following months and we took video and pics of the healing process; the images above show the time frame over a 3-month period. Quite astonishing to see how it got better over time and I am glad that we can report a happy ending. If you want to enjoy more information and imagery on this topic, then click here and check out one of the latest FB lives.

It also reveals the story of Hans Ray and how he recovered from a nasty hook that almost cut off his cephalic fin…another fantastic happy ending.


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