The manta ray is a HUGE fish living in the open oceans around the equator. It’s range extends from Canada in the north, to the tip of Africa in the south and goes all the way around the world. This animal is the largest of all the rays and grows up to 23 feet (7 m). That’s higher than a 2 story house! Despite the manta ray’s large size, it is very gentle and only eats small fishes and plankton. Some aquariums that house a manta ray will even let you swim with it! This huge fish propels itself by “flapping” its huge “wings,” giving it the appearance of flying through the water.
Manta rays have different colors depending on the species and the individual. Most of these rays are white, gray, blue, or black. Even though they are huge, sharks and killer whales can eat them. These gentle giants can weigh as much as 3,080 pounds (1,400 kg). Mantas have often been observed jumping completely out of the water (which the ocean sunfish does also). There are many explanations for this behavior, one of which is to dislodge parasites. Manta rays mate throughout the year and have a gestation period of around one year. After this time is up, the females give birth to normally two, live, 4 foot long babies. Although it is not known exactly how long these amazing animals live, it is estimated to be around 25 years.
Don’t forget to check out the activity sheet under sources and guess what the next animal is!
Here’s the picture of next week’s animal.
- Coloring/activity sheet
- Manta ray: Wikipedia user-Bartek.cieslak
- Mystery animal: Wikipedia user Geoff Gallice