This week in Lembongan… We have made the most of the calm seas by heading out to the manta dive sites as much as we can. With all these trips to Manta Point, our divers have been lucky to see lots of mantas. There are 2 different types of manta rays and we do get both in the Lembongan / Penida area but it is the reef manta ray that we see more often and the one you are most likely to see at Manta Bay or Manta Point.
The reef manta is a little smaller then the oceanic which can reach a wing span of 8 meters. In saying that, these creatures are not small, with the reef manta rays that we get around here, average around 3 meters wide.
The name “manta” is Portuguese and Spanish for mantle (cloak or blanket), a type of blanket-shaped trap traditionally used to catch rays. Mantas are known as “devilfish” because of their horn-shaped cephalic fins, which are imagined to give them an “evil” appearance.
Mantas evolved from bottom-dwelling stingrays, eventually developing more wing-like pectoral fins. Oceanic mantas still has a vestigial remnant of a sting barb in the form of a caudalspine. The mouths of most rays lie on the underside of the head, while in mantas they are right at the front. Manta rays and devil rays are the only ray species that have evolved into filter feeders.