Manta Ray & Devil Ray
Manta Rays are some of the most fascinating creatures on the planet. Manta Rays are plankton feeders. They have two cephalic fins protruding from their head. The fins are used to direct plankton to their large moth. The fins can be rolled up, giving the manta the look of a creature with horns, hence the name Devil Ray.
Oceanic Manta Rays can reach 6-7 meters in with and weight up to 2 tonnes. Reef Manta Rays are somewhat smaller (4-5) meters, but more frequent. Maldives is in fact home to the world’s largest population of Reef Manta Rays.
Most of the pictures shown here are from “Manta Point” at South Ari Atoll. This is a cleaning station, where swarms of small cleaner fishes are removing parasites from the rays. The depth is about 8 meters. There may be some current, so the best procedure is to grab a rock and enjoy the show. The Manta Rays can be at the station for long time, swimming around and around, sometimes very close to the divers.
The smaller Devil Rays, also called Mobulas, rarely exceeds 1.5 meters across. They may be mistaken as baby Manta Rays and are often seen in small schools.
Great places to see Manta Rays are: