Manta Birostris, The World’s Largest – Manta ray (Manta birostris) is a species of stingray in the world. Wide body of pectoral fin tip to fin tip others reach nearly 7 meters (probably more because there are reports that there is a wide manta body reaches 9.1 meters). The weight of the heaviest manta itself ever measured up to 3 tons.
Manta can be found in tropical oceans worldwide – roughly between latitudes 35o to 35o north latitude south. Spreading wide and unique appearance caused this fish has many names ranging from “Pacific manta” “manta Atlantic”, “devil fish” to “sea devil”. In Indonesia alone, manta rays have various local names such as cawang necklace, plampangan, and pari buffalo (possibly because body parts like horns on his head so he considered similar to a buffalo). Manta rays later categorized as “close to a threat” (near threatened) by the IUCN because although the amount is not yet categorized as endangered, but the future of the population is expected to shrink until eventually endangered. Manta ray populations considered in imminent danger due to high fishing activity and increasingly polluted sea conditions, but their birth rate is low.
Manta inserted into Myliobatidae family consisting of 40 different species of rays. Family of stingray is also known as the “eagle rays” (eagle ray) because they do not live on the seafloor and swim freely so that when they are seen at a glance like a hawk “fly” in the sea. Myliobatidae family is divided in 4 subfamily and manta rays inserted into the subfamily Mobulinae are also filled by a stingray of the genus Mobula which have a similar appearance manta rays but smaller. The name “manta” is derived from the Spanish language, which means “blanket”.
There are three species that were previously considered part of the genus Manta: Manta birostris (Atlantic manta rays), Manta hamiltoni (Pacific manta rays), and the highway Manta (manta rays Prince Alfred). Third manta rays itself is very similar to each other. Later, after an examination of the examples of their genes, all three species were included in the same species: the species Manta birostris. However, others say that there are at least two species of manta: one large and migratory, while the other is smaller and more like settling.
Manta has a physical broadly similar to most stingray with wide pectoral fins and a small tail like a whip. Fin width chest makes her body look flat. Manta moves wearing flippers mengombakkannya chest by way of the section near the back of the head to the body so that when seen, manta rays as if he were flying around in the sea. Manta own tail shorter than the tail of a stingray most and stingless. Skin manta also shrouded in a layer of mucus that is much thicker than most stingrays. The mucus layer is believed to do to protect the vulnerable skin. Manta also has a larger brain size compared to other stingrays and sharks relatives so that they are considered more intelligent than other relatives.
Characteristic of manta is a pair of “horns” near his mouth. “Horns” is actually a pair of fins sefala (head) which helps incorporate seawater containing plankton food, and can be bent into the mouth. In his mouth there is also a small tooth-shaped pegs 300 and almost hidden under the skin. This gear is not used to eating, but these teeth may be useful when manta perform marriage. Manta also has five pairs of gill slits in the lower part of his body to remove water that enters through the mouth. On the inside there is a gill slits gill filters or disc filters (filter plate) that serves to trap the plankton that go along with sea water.
Manta has a variety of colors, ranging from black, blue-gray, brown to nearly white. The color pattern on the body manta also vary where the manta rays are found in the eastern Pacific lower body dominant color black, while on the type of manta rays are found in the western Pacific, the color of the lower part of his body pale. Not yet known what the functions and the causes of this varied coloring, but the color that varies facilitate scientists to distinguish manta from one region to other regions. Another unique thing about coloring manta is they have some sort of pattern on the shoulders and down her body and these patterns are different for every individual manta thus considered to be similar to fingerprints in humans.
Manta rays are animals who generally had a quiet behavior. He also showed a friendly behavior by the divers so divers who happened to be nearby could hold and even ride. He is also commonly seen near sea level and around coral reefs. Manta rays can be found in large enough quantities in areas rich in plankton, manta rays known but did not show signs of social interaction with one another and form a group.
Manta is known as one of the big fish that eat plankton (filter feeders). He ate by opening its mouth while swimming so that plankton in the water into the mouth. He can also use a pair of horn-like fins head to direct plankton in order to get into his mouth. In this way he considered hunting passively because he does not chase its prey to eat. Manta is also known to eat small animals such as shrimp and fry.
In the breeding season, a large number of manta will gather to look for mating partner. Some male manta can compete for the female manta partner. Manta manta males, females managed to get hold on the fin partner is using his teeth and pressed his stomach, then begin marriage by inserting his penis into the female genital orifice. The marriage lasted for approximately 90 seconds.
Mantas is ovovivipar where the eggs hatch while still inside the mother’s body. A female manta manta can carry two babies at once in the body. The period of “pregnancy” manta itself is not known with certainty, but the possibility can last between 9-12 months. Newly hatched baby manta and out of its mother’s body with fins folded condition. Baby manta became active as soon as he developed fins and can immediately begin to swim. A newborn baby manta known to measuring width of 1.2 meters and weighing 45 kg. Baby manta can grow very quickly due within one year, their body width has reached nearly 2 times the width when first born. Maximum age manta rays themselves are known to reach 20 years.
Jumping out of the water
Manta is famous because he can jump out of the water and because of its large size, it has always attracted attention while doing the jump. There are several theories as to why they jump out of the water. They may do it to escape from predators or to remove parasites that attach to the body. Another theory, manta use it to communicate with each other. Manta is also expected to jump out of the water to show its strength while looking for a partner.
Interaction with other animals
Small fish known to be near manta. One marine fish species most commonly known to love being near the manta is a remora fish (Echeneida sp.). This fish is commonly found attached to the lower part of the body manta wearing some kind of suction on the upper part of his body. Remora benefit by sticking to the manta because he was protected from predators and he obtained a “free food” in the form of the parasite that attaches to the skin manta.
Marine animals known as manta rays are the main predators are sharks such as the tiger shark (Galeocerdo Cuvier). Manta has no defense tools such as sharp teeth or sting so he relied on his swimming ability to escape from his enemies (including possibly by jumping out of the water). Manta is also known to wear a chest flippers to hit the attacker.