While diving on the reefs in Mozambique it is possible to encounter the two species of manta ray, it is one of the few places in the world where both may be viewed. And Mozambique’s researcher, Dr. Andrea Marshall, is the one who discovered the differentiation between the two. The manta species do look alike, however there are some key differences:
The reef mantas (Manta alfredi) are the smaller of the two getting to about 5m wing-tip to wing-tip and they are more site specific in their habitat choices. The reef mantas can be distinguished from the topside by their lighter colored faces and less defined shoulder patches. On their underside the trailing edges of their wings are a faded grey color and their spots can be all over their ventral side even between their gills. The giant mantas are the larger (8m wingspan), migratory ones, they have been found to travel great distances and visit Mozambique specifically to get their shark bite wounds cleaned by the wrasses and butterfly fish found on the reefs. They can be distinguished by their darker faces and T-shaped shoulder patches. Their ventral side often has has tear-shaped spots on their fifth gill slit and their unique spot pattern is primarily behind the gills. The trailing edge of their wings is very dark and distinct.
There have been over 900 individual mantas identified in the Mozambique population, the largest cataloged in the world. Unfortunately the gill nets set by fishermen along the coast have been catching these magnificent animals and there has been a steady decline of the area-specific reef mantas, almost 86%, since 2003. Here you can find updates on the research and findings of manta ray researchers including Dr. Marshall, PhD student, Daan Van Duinkerkin, and Yara Tiburca
In this Oct. 18, 2011 photo, a manta ray swims off Raja Ampat islands, Indonesia. Photograph by Herman Harsoyo, AP One of the world’s largest fishes gets a super-size sanctuary thanks to a decision by the Indonesian government to ban fishing for manta rays within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The move, hailed by conservation organizations and researchers, has resulted in the world’s largest… Read more »
Source CITES Species+ is a new online resource providing comprehensive information on globally protected species. It includes all species covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), as well as those included in the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations. Species+ can be accessed at www.speciesplus.net What is Species+?… Read more »
Source: CITES Twelve months before the entry into force of CITES regulations on shark and rays, the European Union approves a 1.2 million euro project to ensure their effective implementation. Brazil, China, Germany, Japan and the United States have also offered support and technical assistance. Geneva, 14 September 2013 – The 178 Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna… Read more »
A report by Victoria Mundy-Taylor and Vicki Crook, Written by Hannah Darrin This is a review of the TRAFFIC report on the implementation of CITES in relation to Mozambique and the Southern African Area. Into the deep: Implementing CITES measures for commercially-valuable sharks and manta rays was commissioned by the European Union after seven species of marine elasmobranchs were listed on Appendix II of the Convention on… Read more »
An insight into the world leading scientific research of the Marine Megafauna Foundation, based in Tofo, Mozambique.
Trends in sightings and environmental influences on a coastal aggregation of manta rays and whale sharks ABSTRACT: Sightings of planktivorous elasmobranchs at their coastal aggregation sites are often linked to biological, environmental and temporal variables. Many large planktivorous elasmobranchs are also globally threatened species, so it is necessary to try and separate population trends from environmentally driven, short-term fluctuations. We investigated the influence of environmental variables on… Read more »