Manta rays

I got this tidbit from Zoology’s Greatest Mystery, which I mentioned in an earlier post.

This isn’t relevant to anything particularly. Like the fish with the black stomachs so that the bioluminescence of their prey won’t glow through their abdominal wall and give away their position to predators, it’s just neat.

Apparently if you were to take one of those log graphs where you plot body mass vs brain mass of various animals, manta rays swoop up above all other fish [see what I did there?] and land on the graph right among the mammals. Who knew that? I didn’t know that.

Also, this is just as it should be from an artistic point of view, as manta rays are so utterly spectacular. Did you know their wingspan can get up to about 30 feet? That’s about two giraffes.

Photo by, let me see, Andre Kaim on Unsplash:

They also show curiosity and social bonds — I did not know they were particularly social — and appear to understand the concept of mirrors. The famous mirror test is iffy, but still.

Here’s an article about social behavior. You know, they wouldn’t put “friendship” in quotes if these were mammals. That’s a bit annoying.

Oh, this article here is neat!

The researchers studied the structure of more than 500 of these groups over five years, in Indonesia’s Raja Ampat Marine Park, one of the most biodiverse marine habitats on Earth. They found two distinct but connected communities of rays living together. These social communities were quite differently structured, one being made up of mostly mature female rays, and the other a mix of males, females and juveniles. … The study, published in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, used social network analysis to show that manta ray communities contain a web of many weak acquaintances, with some stronger, longer-lasting relationships. Though they do not live in tight-knit social groups, the team noticed that female mantas tend to make long-term bonds with other females, while males did not have many strong connections. 

Very cool.

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1 thought on “Manta rays”

  1. I remember being told that at an aquarium – it made me like the “pet the rays” bits more, bc knowing they’re social animals, I figure they’re probably getting something out of it too.

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