Flexible horns are used to direct plankton and water into the manta’s very broad and wide mouth.
During embryonic development, part of the tissue that becomes the pectoral fins of the manta ray breaks away and moves forward, surrounding the mouth. This structure develops into horns. These flexible horns are used to direct plankton and water into the manta’s very broad and wide mouth. To make it more streamlined when swimming, it is able to curl its horns up.
CLASS: Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fish—sharks, skates, and rays)
ORDER: Rajiformes (rays, sawfishes, and skates)
FAMILY: Mobulidae (devil rays and manta rays)
GENUS/SPECIES: Manta birostris
Size: Wingspan 17–22 ft (5.2–6.7 m)
Weight: 2,640–3,080 lbs (1,200–1,400 kg)
Depth: Near the surface, down to 395 ft (120 m)
Diet: Shrimp, plankton, small fish
Habitat: Tropical and temperate waters near the coasts of the oceans