We have two types of Mantas here around Guinjata, Tofo and Inhambane: Manta Alfredi (Reef manta) and manta Birostris (Giant Manta), the reef Manta reaches up to 5.5 meters in width and the Giant Manta reaches up to 7 meters.
Both have triangular pectoral fins, horn shaped cephalic fins and large forward facing mouths. They have horizontally flattened bodies with eyes on the sides of their heads (behind the cephalic fins) and gill slits on their ventral surfaces. Their tails lack skeletal support and are shorter than their disc-like bodies. The dorsal fins are small and at the base of the tail.
Species are pelagic, the Giant manta migrates across open oceans and the reef manta tends to be resident and living in our coastal waters. Mantas are filter feeders and eat large quantities of zooplankton which they swallow with their mouths as they swim. Gestation last over a year producing live pups. The mantas visit Manta reef because of the cleaning station for the removal of parasites.
The name “manta” is Spanish for cloak or blanket, a type of blanket-shaped trap traditionally used to catch rays. Mantas are also known as “devilfish” because of their horn-shaped cephalic fins which give them an “evil” appearance.
Mantas are among the sharks and rays. Mantas evolved from bottom-dwelling stingrays, eventually developing more wing-like pectoral fin the Giant Manta still has a vestigial remnant of a sting barb in the form of a caudal spine.
Both species have small square shaped teeth on the lower jaw but the Giant Manta also has enlarged teeth on the upper jaw. In addition, unlike reef manta the Gaint manta has a caudal spine near its dorsal fin.
The mouths of most rays lay on the underside of the head, while in mantas they are right at the front. In addition, manta rays and devil rays are the only ray species that have evolved into filter feeders.
Mantas move through the water by the wing-like movements of their pectoral fins, which drive water backwards. Their large mouths are rectangular, and face forward as opposed to other ray and skate species with downward-facing mouths.
The spiracles typical of Chondrichthyes are vestigial, and mantas must swim continuously to keep oxygenated water passing over their gills. The cephalic fins are usually spiraled, but flatten during foraging.
Their gills arches have pallets of pinkish-brown spongy tissue that collect food particles. Mantas track down prey using visual and olfactory senses. They have one of the highest brain-2-body mass ratios of all fish.
Dive with Manta on Manta Reef!
Did you know that Manta Reef is said to be one of the Top10 dive sites in the world?
Did you know that PADI has Manta Reef on its bucket list?
Guinjata Dive Centre is the closest dive centre to Manta Reef and we go there all year round with our rubber boats in a 30 minute boat ride. For diving Manta Reef the adventure starts already with the boat ride along the beautiful Mozambican coast.
Just we still can’t predict nature. Not on every dive do we meet Mantas.
So if you want to make sure to dive with Manta Rays, why not taking a bit more time and combining your stay with one of our PADI courses or even dive internships in Mozambique?
-> see more on: our courses page
-> see more on: our internship page
And even if you’re not lucky enough to see a Manta Ray:
Don’t worry because Manta Reef has plenty of other wildlife which makes it one of the Top10 dive sites of the world!
-> see more on: our Manta Reef page
Sadly the Manta populations all over the world are rapidly declining.
You can help us keeping that heritage alive by supporting the “Project Aware”
-> see more: our “Project Aware” page