All About Florida Keys Fishing & Key West Fishing

    Manta birostris

    Dark brown to black above, white below.  Pectoral fins ("wings") long and pointed.  Two
    large cephalic fins (rostra) protruding from front of head.  Mouth wide, terminal.  Tail whip-
    like, but shorter than the length of body and with no spine.

    Pelagic, mainly in near-shore waters, near coral and rocky reefs; sometimes found over
    deep water near water's surface.  Sometimes penetrates shallow muddy bays and
    intertidal areas, and occurs off river mouths.

    Mainly plankton feeders, but may feed on small and moderate-sized fishes as well.

    Aplacental viviparity; up to two pups per litter.

    World's largest ray.  Wingspan of up to 29.5 feet with an average around 22 feet.  
    Individuals may weigh as much as 4,000 pounds. Maximum reported age of 20 years.

    Human Factors
    Protected in Florida state waters.  Often viewed swimming slowly near surface.  Easily
    approached. May be seen leaping out of the water, possibly as part of mating behavior or
    to dislodge ectoparasites.  Of little danger to humans.

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