10 Notable Differences between Manta Ray and Stingray
Difference between Manta Ray and Stingray: They are both members of the Chondrichthyes class which implies that they share certain similarities. One easily observable difference is that manta rays do not have barb found on their tails, while stingray uses the barb for self-defense.
Characteristics of Manta Ray
1. They are usually very large rays that belong to the Manta
2. Manta Rays are classified as among the Myliobatiformes (which are stingrays and their relatives) and are placed in the Myliobatidae family (eagle rays).
3. There are two species of Manta rays, birostris, which can reach up to 7m (23ft 0in) in width, and the much smaller M. alfredi, which can reach widths of up to 5.5m (18ft 1in).
4. Both species of Manta ray are cartilaginous, and have large triangular pectoral fins, and possess large horn-shaped cephalic fins, with mouths that are located on the forward-facing side of their bodies.
5. Manta rays are found predominantly in tropical saltwater locations, although can also be found infrequently in subtropical and warm temperate salt waters.
6. Both Manta species are pelagic, however, alfredi tends to be a resident to coastal waters, while M. birostris migrates across the open oceans either singly, or in very large groups.
7. Both species are also filter feeders, where they swallow large quantities of water in their mouths as they swim, ingesting large amounts of zooplankton, which are later filtered out from the water by their gill rakers.
8. The gestation period in Mantas lasts for over a year, and they give birth to live pups.
9. Mantas often visit cleaning stations, where they seek the aid of cleaner fish to remove parasites.
10. Similar to whale behavior, they breach, however, the reasons for this behavior is unknown.
11. Both species are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as vulnerable.
12. This vulnerable status has come from a variety of anthropogenic threats including fishing net entanglement, pollution, and hunting for harvesting their gill rakers as used in traditional Chinese medicine. Their slow reproduction rates exacerbate these threats.
13. They have a protected status in international waters, from the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), however, they are far more vulnerable, the nearer to shore they are.
Characteristics of Stingray
1. Stingrays are small rays that are cartilaginous fish, which are more closely related to sharks.
2. The majority of stingrays have one or more stingers that are barbed (these are modified from dermal denticles) on their tails. These are exclusively used in self-defense.
3. A stingray’s stinger can reach up to 35cm (14in) in length, and has two grooves on the underside which have venom glands.
4. The entire stinger is covered in a thin skin layer, which is called the integumentary sheath. This is where the venom is concentrated.
5. Some members of the suborder Myliobatoidei do not have stingers, such as the Manta rays and porcupine rays.
6. Stingrays inhabit a variety of waters around the world, including tropical, subtropical and temperate waters. Some species are also found in freshwater locations.
7. Some stingray species such as Plesiobatis daviesi are found in the deep ocean, while others such as Dasyatis thetidis are found in warm temperate oceans.
8. There are currently 220 known species of stingrays that are organized into 10 families and 29 genera.
9. Many stingray species are becoming progressively threatened and vulnerable to extinction, primarily due to unregulated fishing.
10. In 2013, 45 species were listed as vulnerable or endangered by the IUCN.
Notable differences between Manta Rays and Stingrays
1. Tail Stinger: Manta rays do not possess a stinger or barb on the tail. Most stingrays on the other hand do possess a stinger or barb on the tail.
2. Habitat: Manta rays live predominantly in tropical and subtropical salt waters, while stingrays can also be found in warm temperate waters, as well as some species living in freshwater habitats.
3. Mouth location: The mouth of a Manta ray is located on the front, forward facing edge of the body, while the mouth of a stingray is located on the underside of its body.
4. Size: Manta rays are much larger is size, and are proportionately much wider than they are long. Stingrays on the other hand. They are generally much smaller in size and are proportionately much longer in length than they are wide.
5. Place in the water column: Manta rays are exclusively pelagic, while stingrays are generally demersal, preferring to dwell on the bottom of the ocean floor
6. Cephalic fins: Manta rays possess a pair of cephalic ‘horn like’ fins on its head, however stingrays do not have these, instead having just a continuous rounded head.
7. Visitations to cleaning stations: Manta rays frequently visit cleaning stations in order to get their gills cleaned, and their parasites removed by cleaner fish. However, most stingrays do not visit cleaning stations.
8. Diet: Manta rays are filter feeders, that feed exclusively on Zooplankton in the water column. However, stingrays are bottom feeders that eat various different species of crustaceans and mollusks.
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