Batoidea, or rays, are the largest group of fish whose bodies are made out of cartilage instead of bones—similar to their relatives the shark. Rays are easily identifiable by their flat bodies with elongated fins attached to their heads, and gills placed on their underbellies. There are three groups of rays, the Manta ray, Stingray, and the Spotted Eagleray. All rays have a tail with a poisonous barb on the end that is used for self-protection and can cause serious harm or even death in its target. Some rays are shy while others are sociable, they live in sandy areas, open water, or coral reefs, and can be found in every ocean.

What do rays eat?

Most ray species consume a carnivorous diet. The diet of rays affects their physical attributes such as their shape and colors. They tend to eat animals that live on or beneath the sand such as worms, clams, oysters, snails, and shrimp. Rays may also eat small fish and squids.

How big do rays get?

Rays may reach a wingspan ranging from 12 inches (31 cm) in a yellow stingray and up to 23 feet (7 m) in manta rays. Manta rays can reach a weight of up to 2 tons. Females typically are larger than males in order to accommodate their offspring during pregnancy.

Why do rays jump?

Rays jump out of the water to eat or avoid getting eaten by a predator. If they are being chased by a predator, they may jump out of the water to confuse their chaser. At times they may be startled by a motorboat which causes them to jump as a response.

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Rays

Manta Ray
Size comparison diagram of a Manta Ray compared to a scuba diver with dimensions for overall width

The Manta ray, also known as the devil ray, is characterized by its flat and wide body with large pectoral fins that are reminiscent of wings. The ‘devil ray’ name comes from extensions of the pectoral fins that resemble devil horns and protrude from the front of its head on either side of its mouth. The manta ray is found in warm waters where it swims near the surface with wing-like movements, feeding on plankton and small fishes swept into its mouth via its cephalic fins (the devil horns).

Manta Rays have an overall length between 15’-23’ (4.6-7 m) and a width of 15’-23’ (4.6-7 m). An average Manta Ray weighs between 5,300-6,600 lb (2,400-3,000 kg) and has a typical lifespan of 18-20 years.

Collection of illustrations of Manta Rays seen from the top, side, bottom and front views
The Manta ray, also known as a devil ray, is characterized by its flat and wide body with large pectoral fins that are reminiscent of wings. The ‘devil ray’ name comes from extensions of the pectoral fins that resemble devil horns and protrude from the front of its head on either side of its mouth.

Manta Rays have an overall length between 15’-23’ (4.6-7 m) and a width of 15’-23’ (4.6-7 m). An average Manta Ray weighs between 5,300-6,600 lb (2,400-3,000 kg) and has a typical lifespan of 18-20 years.

Collection of illustrations of Manta Rays seen from the top, side, bottom and front views
Manta Ray
Height:
Width:
15’-23’ | 4.6-7 m
Length:
15’-23’ | 4.6-7 m
Depth:
Weight:
5,300-6,600 lb | 2,400-3,000 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Manta birostris
Lifespan
18-20 years

Drawings include:
Manta Ray top, side, front, bottom, swimming

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