Manta rays are considered among the largest sea creatures on the planet. Their unique appearance and their menacing face have people naming them the Devil's fish. Why are they called the Devil's fish? It is because of their cephalic fins that are curled and look like horns.
Despite their intimidating look and sheer size, these are gentle creatures and do not attack humans and use these devil-like horns to funnel food into their wide mouths. If you're wondering how huge they can get, you are at the right spot. Today, we will be talking about Manta Rays size and understand why they are the largest species of the genus Mobula.
Manta Rays Size: How Big They Can Get?
When we talk about some of the biggest sea creatures on the planet, whales, blue, and great white sharks easily come to mind. People don't know that manta rays also belong in this group. Most scientists and researchers thought that manta rays only had one species during the early years. Later, they know that there were two species of manta rays, the Giant Manta Ray and the Reef Manta Ray.
Although it may seem like two of them have the same anatomy, they have too many differences that surpass the number of our fingers. The only similarities they have is their size, the area they are usually found, and their colors.
Of the two manta rays, the Giant Manta Ray is the biggest, and its wingspan can reach up to 30 feet when a giant manta ray reaches adulthood. So, if you were to compare it to the bald eagle's wingspan, it would take around four bald eagles to cover up the entire wingspan of the giant manta ray.
On the other hand, reef manta rays are relatively smaller and paler than the overall wingspan of a giant manta ray. Reef Manta rays can only reach up to 16 feet, but this is only in rare instances. The average width of these rays is around 11 feet in maturity.
Reef Manta Rays
The species of reef manta rays are better known as the small counterparts of the giant manta rays. A full grown reef manta can only reach up to 10 to 12 feet on average and weigh as much as 2,500 to 2,900 pounds. While they are only a few hundred pounds lighter, they still don't possess enough width to rival giant manta rays.
Manta Rays Size: Comparison With Other Big Sea Creatures
Giant manta rays aren't the only creatures that intimidate everyone with their sheer presence, and other sea creatures can rival the size of giant manta rays. We will show their difference in size to have a better picture of how they compare with the giants. Giant manta rays are 5th on the list as the world's biggest sea creatures, along with great white sharks, basking sharks, tiger sharks, and whale sharks.
Manta Rays vs. Great White Sharks
Great white sharks are also known as the largest predatory fish in the ocean. How does the largest specie of manta ray fare with them? Let's find out!
When we compare great whites and giant manta rays in size, they are close in terms of feet and inches. However, it pales in comparison in terms of sheer weight, and the great white shark easily outweighs a fully matured giant manta ray as it weighs around 5,000 to 6,000 pounds.
Although some great whites reach up to 21 to 26 feet, the giant manta ray far easily surpasses them in this category, albeit great whites are bigger than reef manta rays. Another key difference is that giant manta rays don't have teeth, whereas great whites have rows of teeth that reach up to 300!
Manta Rays vs. Bull Sharks
Another shark on the list, the bull shark, is considered one of the most dangerous sharks in the world. Although attacks on humans are rare, they are able to swim upstream and have a tremendous appetite for prey lurking in the shadows. They are also extremely territorial and would pounce easily if it feels like they are invading their privacy.
Despite their dangerous background, bull sharks aren't the biggest predatory fish on the planet, and they even pale in comparison to other apex predators such as the great whites and orcas. On average, a bull shark reaches up to 7 feet when it reaches maturity, and they are even smaller than reef manta rays!
In terms of weight, bull sharks are even outclassed by these gentle giants as they can only reach around 300 pounds, whereas giant manta rays can reach a staggering 3,600 pounds in adulthood.
The Largest Manta-Ray Ever Recorded
The average wingspan of giant manta rays reaches around 23 feet, but the largest ever recorded wingspan of a giant manta ray was measured in 1920. It was measured at 30 feet! It is even listed in the Guinness book of world records as the biggest manta ray ever recorded.
However, the weight of the largest manta ray wasn't recorded, but it was in 1933 when the heaviest manta ray was recorded at a whopping 5,000 pounds. They are on the same level as great whites.
It was a female giant manta ray, and despite its sheer weight, it only reached around 20 feet in wingspan. The giant manta ray was caught off the coast of New Jersey as the creature was caught entangled in the anchor line.
Wrapping Things Up
Although giant manta rays are considered one of the largest sea creatures on the planet, there are still some species that far surpass them in the animal kingdom. Still, these fascinating creatures are worth knowing for!
Despite their menacing appearance and devil-like horns, they are still not exempted from the various threats made by humans. These giants are still susceptible to these kinds of negativities from their surroundings from bycatching, overfishing, pollution, and climate change. It is our duty to conserve and protect these species as they are vital creatures to keep the system balanced.
By supporting us here at ATOLEA, you are taking that big step in protecting and conserving all the marine life and the Ocean including the manta rays!
Every profit we make from your purchase to our Ocean-inspired jewelry, part of it goes to Ocean conservation charities that aims to save the Ocean.
So dive into our wide selections of ATOLEA Sea-inspired jewelry now and start wearing unique summer vibes accessories that has a wonderful message of loving and caring for the Ocean more!