Manta birostris (Walbaum, 1792) (Giant manta)Manta rays are generally solitary, although loose aggregations of individuals may occur where there are abundant food sources or during the breeding season. When ready to mate, a male will bite his mate's pectoral fin to p... Read MoreManta rays are generally solitary, although loose aggregations of individuals may occur where there are abundant food sources or during the breeding season. When ready to mate, a male will bite his mate's pectoral fin to position himself belly-belly for copulation . The developing eggs remain inside the female's body for possibly as long as 12 months and hatch internally so that she gives birth to live young . The average litter size is two pups, and there is often a two year gap between births . These rays feed on planktonic organisms by filtering volumes of water through their mouths. Individuals have been observed swimming in slow vertical loops whilst feeding, possibly in an effort to concentrate prey items . The fleshy projections on either side of the mouth are also used to funnel prey; when not feeding, these lobes are either furled or closed in front of the mouth . Mantas are often host to remoras (Remorina spp.), which attach to the underside of the larger fish and consume particles of food that fall from the mouth . Exceptionally graceful swimmers, manta rays appear to fly through the water on their large wings. Individuals have also been observed to jump (or 'breach') clear out of the water, possibly in a form of communication or play .
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