FAQ 1 – WHY DO MANTAS COME TO THE LIGHT AT MANTA POINT?
The manta rays found in near shore waters off the West Coast of Hawaii have learned to associate light with the presence of their natural, planktonic food source. This is due to conditioning by humans over a period of decades.
Manta rays come to Kauna’oa Bay because the floodlight at Manta Point attracts zooplankton; their natural food source.
The mantas do not live here, but instead roam a 90 sq. mile area we call home range.
FAQ 2 – MANTA RAYS ARE GENTLE GIANTS
Mantas have no teeth, no stinger and no barb.
Different species of rays inhabit the ocean, like spotted eagle rays, batrays, mobula rays and sting rays. The latter rays became infamous in 2006 when Steve Irwin, the Australian “Crocodile Hunter” lost his life to one. All of the above mentioned rays have means of defense on their body, but not the manta rays. Their protection from predators is early detection with extremely good eyesight, counter-shading and high speed swimming abilities.
FAQ 3 – DIET OF MANTAS RAYS
Plankton is small and microscopic organisms of various kinds and species which concentrate near lights at night. Manta rays feed on plankton. They filter feed with their large mouth and a complex system of brachial filters.
The manta rays swim slowly and gracefully while they are feeding. Their large mouths open and funnel the plankton into their oral cavity. It is estimated that they consume 12% of their body weight in plankton per week.
FAQ 4 – SPECIES
Manta rays are cartilaginous fish (no bones). They are “cousins” to sharks and skates.
There are two species of mantas: reef mantas (Mobula alfredi) and pelagic mantas (Mobula birostris). Both species exist in all temperate waters.
FAQ 5 – IDENTIFICATION
Each manta ray has a unique spot pattern on its underside. This allows us to identify and monitor them.
Close to 300 different manta rays have been identified along the Kona Coast. The manta rays were given names like: Big Bertha, Wing Ray, Lee Ray, Shirley Ray, Lefty, Ray Charles Ray or Darth Ray-der.
Over the last 20 years, we have been compiling a database of individuals and sightings. To those who wish to know more about the manta rays of Kona, we invite you to browse our collection of pictures, video clips, descriptions and stories online.
FAQ 6 – REPRODUCTION
13 months gestation period with live birth of 1-2 “pups” at a time.
FAQ 7 – MANTAS IN CAPTIVITY
It is difficult to capture and maintain manta rays in captivity because their food source is live plankton.
Mantas in captivity: Japan, Bahamas and the USA (Georgia Aquarium).
DO YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MANTA RAYS?
Our ebook, “Your Guide as a Manta Ray Advocate”, is the first thing you need.
This comprehensive mini-guide contains all the essential facts to help you understand these Gentle Giants better, so you can show off your manta ray expertise with fellow ocean enthusiasts.
We at Manta Ray Advocates are devoting our lives to manta rays through education and advocacy, and we invite you to join us.
Click the button below to receive “Your Guide as a Manta Ray Advocate” for FREE:
(The guide is a great conversation starter for Manta Ray Advocates of all ages.)
Take the guide to school and inspire your classmates
Tell your fellow divers about the magnificent manta rays
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