Manta Rays vs Stingrays: 7 Key Differences

Manta Rays vs Stingrays: 7 Key Differences

SeaWorld   September 7, 2018

 

Mantas vs Stingrays
If you’re having trouble telling the difference between manta rays and stingrays, you’re not alone. Manta rays and stingrays are related and look similar, especially when they’re young. They both have wide pectoral fins fused to their heads. But there are big differences, too.

    1. Size:
      Manta rays are the big ones. In fact, it’s amazing just how big they can get. The Giant Oceanic Manta ray can grow up to a disc size of 23 feet and weigh up to 6,600 lbs. To compare, stingrays grow up to 6.5 ft and 790 pounds.
    1. Tail:
      If you had to choose, you’d rather be stung by a manta ray. That’s because unlike stingrays, manta ray tails don’t have stingers and can’t actually sting you. Fortunately for humans, stingrays don’t generally want to sting us either. While stingrays are predators, they only use their tails as a defense mechanism when they’re feeling threatened.

      Mantas vs Stingrays

    1. Habitat:
      They both live in the ocean, but in very different parts. Stingrays are bottom dwellers. They like to stay close to the ocean floor in shallow water. Manta rays, conversely, roam the open ocean, generally staying far from land. Occasionally manta rays will visit coral reefs, where cleaner fish will helpfully consume loose bits of skin and parasites.
    1. Movement:
      Stingrays don’t do much of it. They spend the majority of their time just lying there, partially buried in sand. Sounds great, right? Manta rays don’t have that luxury. They have to constantly keep moving to channel water over their gills for respiration. It’s a lot of work. We’re not saying they mind, but if we got to choose which one we were reincarnated as, we’re going stingray all the way.

      Mantas vs Stingrays

    1. Mouth:
      A stingray’s mouth is located freakishly on the underside of its body whereas the mouth of the manta ray is on the front, like a normal creature. Many stingrays have jaw teeth to enable them to crush mollusks like clams, oysters and mussels.
    1. Brains:
      We wouldn’t go so far as to call stingrays dumb, but manta rays are exceptionally smart. Manta rays have the largest brains of all 32,000 or so species of fish currently known. They show off that brain power with displays of intelligent behavior, such as coordinated and cooperative feeding. That’s better than some humans we know!

      Mantas vs Stingrays

  1. Hunting:
    As filter feeders, manta rays feast on zooplankton like shrimp and krill. When foraging, they herd their prey into a tight group and then swoop through it with their mouths open. Because stingray’s eyes are on the opposite side of their body from their mouths, they’re much more reliant on gel filled sacs that sense electrical signals from their prey for hunting.

Now that you know all about manta rays and stingrays, you’re ready to visit Stingray Lagoon at SeaWorld Orlando, where over 120 friendly stingrays are undulating around, waiting to be pet.

Mantas vs Stingrays