YOUR SAILING AND SNORKELING ADVENTURE BEGINS HERE! BOOK YOUR TOUR TODAY!

Big Island Snorkling Tours Blog

MANTA RAY ‘BRUNCH’: LIKE US, THEY’RE SOCIAL EATERS

Manta Rays underwater

Travel with our great crew on the Hoku Nui to Manta Ray Village for a bucket list adventure viewing the friendly and graceful manta rays while they enjoy dinner.  Shaena Montanari for National Geographic on manta rays as social eaters.

Even though these huge fish are 12 feet across, the social behavior of the reef manta ray has generally remained secretive—until now.

In rare drone footage captured off the coast of Oahu in Hawaii by Mark Merkley, the unique and graceful feeding behavior of the reef manta ray is captured in great detail.

“When drone technology came out we noticed that mantas were behaving a lot more naturally without boats around,” says Andrea Marshall, the Director of the Marine Megafauna Foundation and a National Geographic explorer. She was not involved with capturing this video but has been researching the behavior of mantas for over 15 years. (Read about how to stick a camera on a manta ray.)

Marshall explains that this circling behavior is a social way of eating. Manta ray individuals “stack” behind one another while feeding. The one in front gets the most plankton via filter feeding with its giant gaping mouth, but they switch places as they swim so each gets a turn in the leader position.

“They seem to associate closely with one another. When they spend time together, they are incredibly social,” says Marshall, who adds that these animals don’t just feed together, but they also play together. (How to Give a Manta Ray a Makeover.)

The social groupings of manta rays are intriguing in part because they aren’t necessarily family groups. In her own research, Marshall is analyzing their DNA to see if they are related in an attempt to understand why these animals spend so much time together—but they might just be friends that grew up together.

 

Share:

More Posts

manta ray

The Gentle Giants of the Sea

If you want a unique Hawaiian water-adventure, you don’t need to look any further than Sea Paradise’s Manta Ray tour! Sea Paradise is one of

Whale Migration to Hawaii

Join our excellent crew on the luxurious 50-foot catamaran, the Hoku Nui, to sail out for an award-winning snorkel or manta ray tour.  This is

Chocolate and Vanilla in Hawaii

After you enjoy a beautiful snorkel tour with our informative and friendly crew, you may be surprised to learn the sweet flavors of chocolate and

Spinner dolphins

Spinner Dolphins of Kona

The azure blue waters of Kona are home to many incredible creatures.  Let Sea Paradise take you on an award-winning snorkel or manta ray tour