Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Manta birostris, Giant Manta, the Manta

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head wide, with large paddles
mouth at front

Manta birostris (Walbaum, 1792)

Manta, Giant manta

Disc rhomboidal, wider than long; head relatively wide, projecting with a pair of paddle-like extensions; large triangular "wings" (pectoral fin flaps); mouth at front of head, relatively wide; teeth in lower jaw only; tail long and whip-like, without spines; disc above and below covered with small denticles.

Dark grey to black above; mouth black to dark grey, that color often extending back to first gill slits; very distinct whitish patches on shoulders, that are triangular & with a large rear facing hook on inner side, front edge of shoulder patch runs from spiracle to a line parallel to edge of top jaw; underside white, with a pair of large, semicircular dark blotches immediately behind last gill slit, no spots centrally between gill slits; typically with entire rear edge of pectoral fin dark

Size: to at least 8 m disc width and over two tons in weight.

Habitat: inshore and offshore pelagic.

Depth: 0-217 m.

Circumtropical; the Gulf of California to northern Peru.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • In & Offshore
  • Offshore
Water Column Position
  • Water column only
  • Surface
  • Near Surface
  • Water column
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Estuary
FishBase Habitat
  • Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Pelagic fish eggs
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Bony fishes
  • Pelagic crustacea
Egg Type
  • No data
  • Live birth
  • No pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • East Pacific + Atlantic (East +/or West)
  • East Pacific + all Atlantic (East+West)
  • All species
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
  • "Transpacific" (East + Central &/or West Pacific)
  • TEP non-endemic
  • All Pacific (West + Central + East)
  • Transisthmian (East Pacific + Atlantic of Central America)
Regional Endemism
  • Eastern Pacific non-endemic
  • All species
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continent
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
IUCN Red List
  • Vulnerable
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 800
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 217