Big Island Snorkling Tours Blog

The Magnificant Manta Ray

Manta Ray filter feeder

Join our informative and friendly crew of the Hoku Nui, to sail out to Manta Ray Village for a Hawaiian vacation experience you’ll remember forever.  Float above the graceful and gentle manta rays for one of the most unique sea adventure experiences you could ever have!

Soaring through the ocean depths like a mythical underwater bird, the manta ray is a captivating creature. These gentle giants, with wingspans reaching up to an incredible 29 feet (almost 9 meters), are the largest rays on the planet, rivaling the size of some sharks. Their diamond-shaped bodies and wide, wing-like pectoral fins propel them gracefully through the water, earning them the nickname “sea butterflies.”

Despite their impressive size, manta rays are filter feeders, meaning they consume tiny plankton and krill. As they swim with their mouths wide open, water is filtered through specialized structures called gill rakers, which trap the microscopic food particles. This gentle feeding style makes them harmless to humans, and encounters with divers are often described as awe-inspiring. Manta rays are even known to breach out of the water in spectacular leaps.

While manta rays and stingrays may look similar at first glance, they possess some key differences that set them apart. Here’s a closer look:

Size and Shape: Manta rays are the undisputed giants of the ray family. Their wingspans can reach a staggering 23 feet, dwarfing the typical stingray which maxes out at around 6 feet wide. Manta rays also have a more rectangular body shape with widely extended, diamond-like pectoral fins. Stingrays, on the other hand, have a more rounded body with disc-shaped pectoral fins.  Manta’s have no stingers and are gentle and harmless to humans.

Sea Paradise takes every precaution to ensure everyone, including the mantas, have a safe and enjoyable time together in the Hawaiian waters.


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