September 17th

World Manta Day

World Manta Day

World Manta Day returns annually on September 17. This special day was created to celebrate manta rays and raise awareness of the threats these beautiful and mysterious giants of the sea face.

Mantas, also known as devil rays, are large flat-bodied fish with triangular pectoral fins. There are two species of mantas: the reef manta and the oceanic manta. They can be distinguished by differences in their skin patterns and behavior. Mantas are found in tropical and subtropical oceans around the world. Reef mantas primarily inhabit certain reef habitats in shallow or coastal areas, while oceanic mantas are more transient visitors that travel across open oceans. Mantas never stop moving, as they need to keep water flowing over their gills to breathe. Their daily and seasonal movements are influenced by tides and ocean currents that carry the plankton they depend on. Despite their enormous size, mantas feed on microscopic animals called zooplankton. They are closely related to sharks and rays, with a skeleton made of cartilage rather than bone. Each manta has a unique pattern of spots on its belly that can be used for identification, similar to how we are identified by our fingerprints. Mantas are truly colossal, with some individuals reaching seven meters in wingspan and weighing up to two tons. They give birth to a single offspring after a gestation period of 12 to 15 months. When it comes to fish, mantas have one of the largest brains, which likely supports their curiosity and complex social interactions. Mantas are completely harmless and therefore popular among divers and snorkelers.

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