Mantas & Stingrays

Stingrays' bulging eyes makes them more streamlined

Stingrays have a higher swimming efficiency than most other aquatic animals, and many studies regarding high-performance swimming have focused on the hydrodynamic benefits of stingrays swimming styles: “Rajiform” locomotion (undulation) and “mobuliform” locomotion (flapping), which are considered the key to stingrays' high-performance swimming.

A whitespotted eagle ray gliding through the waters
A whitespotted eagle ray gliding through the waters

Where eagle rays spread their wings in US waters

Until recently, the geographic wanderings of the whitespotted eagle ray have always been a mystery.

Now, in a study that took place from 2016 to 2018, a team of researchers have started to unlock some of its movement patterns.

The 54 rays in the study were tagged with acoustic transmitters, along both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic coast of Florida, using collaborative acoustic telemetry networks.

Sorting out the Stingrays

The bluespotted ribbontail ray is easy to distinguish from other small rays with blue spots by its oval shape. This one was found sheltering under a wreck in the Red Sea. Photo by Nigel Marsh.

Gliding slowly over the rocky reef, I was mesmerised, watching all the colourful reef fishes going about their daily activities. I was so entranced that I was startled to look up and find I was on a collision course with a massive stingray. This was the first stingray I had ever seen, and the giant creature terrified me. In the second it took my panicking brain to work out what to do, the stingray suddenly saw me and also got a shock.

Papua New Guinea: Manta Rays

Manta ray at cleaning station, Gonu Bara Bara Island, PNG. Photo by Don Silcock.

From a distance, there is little to distinguish the small island of Gonu Bara Bara from the myriad of others in this part of southern Milne Bay Province; and few would guess that just off its northern beach is the best place in the whole of Papua New Guinea to see the magnificent reef manta ray—Manta alfredi.

Cognition and Self Awareness in Manta Rays

Although born in the landlocked country of Hungary in Budapest, Dr Csilla Ari fell in love with the sea as a child and has never looked back. Today, she is a research associate at the University of South Florida, where she strives to better understand the biology and behavior of manta rays. She has also set up the Manta Memories project, which aims to help end illegal manta ray fishing.

Spotted eagle rays have been observed in Keys waters, but little is known about where they spend most of their time. (Image above is a unrelated filephoto)

Help keep an eye out for spotted eagle rays

In 2009, Mote Marine Laboratory with the National Aquarium in Baltimore initiated a conservation research program on the life history, reproduction, and population status of the elasmobranch Aetobatus narinari, commonly known as the spotted eagle ray To identify where these rays migrate, Mote has tagged animals with traditional tags and with satellite tags that allow the rays’ movements to be followed as they travel.

We don't know if the rays in the Keys come from Southwest Florida, or perhaps even Mexico or Cuba, and we don't know if rays in the Keys favor particular reefs

—Mote biologist Kim Hull

Giant Mantas of Equador

There is a recently developed term making its way into common use amongst the wider dive community, and that term is, citizen scientist. The science community is waking up to the fact that the common man and woman are valuable resources for acquiring many missing pieces in the jigsaw puzzle that is marine research, particularly for migratory species


"Stingray kills television host"

The headlines soon spread all over the world when the famous Australian philanthropist and television host, “crocodile hunter” Steve Irwin, was recently killed by a stingray, also known as a whiptail stingray.