Manta Rays of Maldives

Manta Rays of Maldives

For scuba divers visiting the Maldives, the manta ray is one of the biggest attractions. Considered one of the “Maldives Big Five”, scuba diving or snorkeling with manta ray Maldives is an exhilarating experience. The Maldives manta ray is the same species as all other manta rays in the world, despite the fact that people used to believe there were various species. Manta rays can reach weights of up to 5,000 pounds and can grow to have a wingspan of 25 feet. The Maldives is one of the best places in the world for manta ray diving and thousands of scuba divers come to the islands every year for the almost guaranteed manta ray sitings.

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Manta Rays Gather at Maldives Dive Sites

Diving with Manta Rays

There are places to dive with manta ray across the globe, but when it comes to diving with manta rays in the Maldives, the best place to find them is at one of the many manta ray cleaning station Maldives, where the mantas gather to have the plankton removed from their grills by smaller fish. One of the best known cleaning stations is the Dhigu Thila cleaning station in the South Male Atoll. At this cleaning station and others, divers generally find a good place to rest – usually on the seabed (as long as there’s no coral – and just relax underwater while watching the manta rays go through their cleaning ritual.

Maldives Manta Rays Questions and Answers

People researching the manta rays of the Maldives have many questions about the appearance,habitat,diet of a manta ray, so we decided to put together a list of the most common questions people ask, to help people learn more about these amazing animals.

Where Does a Manta Ray Live?

Manta rays can be found throughout tropical waters around the world, especially in areas close to coral reefs. The manta ray habitat can be varied, as long as there is an abundance of plankton on which the manta can feed.

What Does a Manta Ray Look Like?

The manta ray appearance is absolutely fascinating and, apart from other rays, it is unlike any other animal in the world. These enormous, diamond-shaped flat animals have a smooth grey-black back with a unique set of markings. Their underside is white or spotted and is marked by a set of gills. They have large mouths, but manta ray teeth have disappeared with evolution, leaving only a row of vestigial teeth on the lower the jaw of the manta ray.

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Diving with Manta Rays at Lankan Manta Point

When is Manta Ray Season in the Maldives?

Divers can enjoy the opportunity of diving with a manta ray in Maldives throughout the year, but the areas frequented by the manta rays vary with the seasons. While little is known about manta ray migration Maldives, we know that during the Northeast Monsoon season, manta ray diving Maldives is best on the western side of the atolls, whereas during the Southeast Monsoon season, Maldives manta ray season is better on the eastern side of the atolls.

What Does a Manta Ray Eat?

The manta ray has evolved to be a filter feeder and the manta ray diet consists mainly of plankton and fish larvae. They catch their food simply by “flying” through the water, filtering the food they choose to eat through their gills and discarding the rest. Manta ray cyclone feeding is an interesting manta ray behavior that involves the rays grouping together in a spiral formation by which they disturb even more plankton for them to feast on. This phenomenon is most often witnessed at the famous Hanifaru manta ray dive spot.

What is the Largest Manta Ray on Record?

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the largest manta ray in the world has a wingspan of 9.1 metres (30 feet). Typically, manta rays grow to 20-25 feet, and the largest manta ray that most divers see in the Maldives measures around 18 feet.

This means that, the size of a manta ray compared to a human, is typically three times larger, so if you’re manta ray diving in Maldives and a manta swims over your head, you’re going to feel very small!

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Manta Ray Sitings in Maldives

How Does a Manta Ray Protect Itself?

The manta rays size and swimming speed are its greatest defense mechanisms since it doesn’t have a sting in its tail. The biggest manta ray threat, apart from human beings, is sharks, and in the event that a manta ray is attacked by a shark and survives, it will then visit a cleaning station for the small fish to eat away any dead skin or other residue left by the shark.

What Eats a Manta Ray?

The various species of shark in the world are predators of the manta ray and unfortunately, also are humans. The manta ray is now protected in the Maldives, which stops people from being able to buy manta ray meat at the market and this is helping to increase chance of manta ray survival in the future.

What Part of the Ocean Does a Manta Ray Live In?

The manta ray lives in warm, tropical waters particularly in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. While the manta ray is known to swim quite deep, they are most commonly spotted in shallow waters, close to coral reefs, where they feed on plankton. In the Maldives, it is common to see manta ray Baa Atoll, which is a great place to witness the process of cyclone feeding manta ray indulges in.

Specifically, this manta ray feeding frenzy can be seen during the months of July to October in the dive spot known as manta ray Hanifaru bay. This is definitely one of the best spots in the world to go diving manta ray. If you are very fortunate, you will see the mantas cyclone feeding, one of the most interesting manta ray behaviors. To see an amazing video manta ray chain feeding, check out this link.

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Manta Ray Diving Holidays in the Maldives

How Many People Per Year Die from a Manta Ray?

The manta ray is one of the most peaceful creatures in the ocean and presents no risk to scuba divers or swimmers. Unlike the stingray, the manta rays’ tail no longer holds a harmful sting.

How Does the Manta Ray Protect Itself?

Being so large and quick, the manta ray has few predators except for large sharks and some whales, but unfortunately, the trade in manta ray meat means that they are very much hunted by humans and it is impossible for the manta to protect itself from being hunted.

Thankfully, conditions for manta ray in the Maldives are better than in many other places as the manta ray fish in the Maldives are protected and cannot be traded in the market. There is also an important manta ray project Baa Atoll called The Baa Atoll Resorts Marine Conservation Project that seeks to promote awareness about the conservation of manta rays and other endangered marine life. Also, while keeping manta ray creature in captivity might not sound like a protection method, the sea world manta ray enclosure is a great place for people to see manta rays up close, learn about them and the importance of protecting them.

The manta ray survivial status is not known because so little research has been done about them, but it is known that numbers in Japan, the Philippines and Mexico where they have been hunted severely are extremely low and they are rarely seen by scuba divers.

How Does a Manta Ray Hunt?

The life of the manta ray is a very peaceful affair, and their hunting style is no exception. As filter feeders, all the manta ray has to do is simply glide through the water, allowing food – mainly plankton, fish larvae and tiny fish – to enter his grill and filter out through his gills. Later, at the cleaning station, a manta ray waste removal procedure is carried out by other reef-dwelling fish.

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Scuba Diving with Manta Rays at Hanifaru

How Can I Enjoy Manta Ray Diving Holidays?

There are loads of options for diving holiday Maldives manta ray, you just have to choose the type of holiday you want. Keen scuba divers will enjoy a liveaboard diving holiday with plenty of Maldives manta ray dives, whereas less experienced divers might choose to go manta ray snorkeling Maldives. Whatever you choose, the Maldives is one of the best places in the world to see these amazing giant manta ray Maldives and learn about the manta ray social behaviors and the lifestyle of a manta ray.