Manta Rays From Komodo National Park

July 11, 2011 Comments Off – Manta rays are also known as devil rays although they are gentle and harmless giants. They have no teeth, but glide through the water flapping their fins like enormous wings and use the flaps on their head to help direct zooplankton, such as tiny crustaceans and small schooling fish into their large mouths.

What other kinds of rays are commonly seen in Komodo National Park?
Beside Manta rays, white-spotted eagle rays may also be seen in Komodo National Park. They can grow to about 3.5 meters wide and unlike manta rays, they have teeth, white spots on their back, and a very long tail. Blue-spotted lagoon rays are also commonly found lying on shallow bottoms down to 20 meters depth, usually hiding under coral. They grow to about 90 cm wide and have two stinging spines on the tail. Blue-spotted stingrays (Dasyatis kuhlii) look similar to the blue-spotted lagoon ray, but their pectoral fins are pointed instead of rounded. They are also found on deeper bottoms to about 50 meters depth.

Three manta rays from Komodo National Park. “Reverse Two Spot”, “Grandma” and “Junior”. Manta rays have distinguishing marks on the underside of their belly enabling scientists in Komodo National Park to study migration, behavior, life history and populations of mantas.

How long do manta rays live?
Nobody knows how long manta rays live as not enough work has been done on these creatures yet.

Where can manta rays be seen in Komodo National Park?
Mantas are generally found in three different areas in the Park.
A: Northeastern corner of Komodo island: “Karang Makassar”, at rising tide.
B: South Komodo island: “German Flag”, at falling tide in Loh Belanada at the base of a large cliff in a channel between south Komodo and a smaller island; and “Manta Alley”, also during falling tide in Loh Belanda along the north eastern shore of a small rocky outcrop;
C: “Small Padar”at the base of a steep cliff along the southeastern corner of Padar.

5 Good Manta Ray Viewing Practices in Komodo National Park
1. Divers should stay on or near the bottom and snorkelers on the surface. An open water column is necessary to give the mantas room to maneuver.
2. Avoid exhaling bubbles directly into the face of an approaching ray.
3. Do not ride, chase, touch, grab or harass the mantas!
4. Divers, photographers and videographers need to be considerate of the reef while watching mantas. Be careful not to kick or stand on coral or other living organisms.
5. Stay in your group and the manta rays should provide plenty of good viewing opportunities.

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