Manta rays in hawaii Pictures











 
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Manta Ray Photos Showing This Huge and Gentle Ray Now Protected in Hawaii

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The manta ray, Manta birostris, is the largest of the rays, typically reaching ten feet across, with the largest known specimen measuring 25 feet across. They range throughout the tropical oceans, but this page addresses specifically the two populations in Hawaii. The Kona, Big Island group has about 150 animals, and the Maui group has about 300.

Kona is ranked the number one place in the world to see manta rays, and in June 2009  Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle signed a bill into law protecting manta rays within state marine waters. The new law establishes criminal penalties and administrative fines for knowingly killing or capturing manta rays within state waters. Exceptions are made for research and educational purposes.

Manta rays are considered “near threatened”, which means that they are in danger of becoming an extinct species in the near future, due to predation by people for display in aquariums, and for their gill rakes and fins which are considered a delicacy by some Asian countries. They are particularly vulnerable to extinction as they take a long time to reach maturity and they reproduce a single pup every two or three years. Manta rays in Hawaii have almost no natural predators except for man.

Manta rays are dark brown to black on top with paler margins and they are white underneath. They are filter feeders, passively filtering plankton, and fish larvae from the water passing through their gills as they swim. The food is caught on flat horizontal plates of spongy tissue in the spaces between the manta's gill bars. At night, light attracts brine shrimp, a form of plankton that the manta rays enjoy, and tourism and dive boast will shine lights into the water to attract the manta rays.

Manta rays are huge and gentle animals that are harmless to people and usually indifferent to divers. They have no stinger, and their only defense is to flee. Swimming, snorkeling and diving with the manta rays has long been a very popular activity in Hawaii, and many tour companies offer night dives, where the manta rays have become accustomed to gathering in certain spots where dive boats shine their lights into the water.

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Picture of a manta ray, Manta birostris, Kona, Big Island, Hawaii, Pacific Ocean

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Stock photo of the view inside of mouth of feeding manta ray, Manta birostris, showing gill plates with brachial filters which trap plankton, small dark objects are plankton, Kona, Hawaii, Central Pacific Ocean

Picture #: 036098

Image of a manta ray, Manta birostris, feeding on plankton at night, Kona, Big Island, Hawaii, Pacific Ocean

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Photo of a manta ray, Manta birostris, Hawaii, Pacific Ocean

Picture #: 000229

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Picture of a manta ray, Manta birostris, feeding on plankton at night. Kona, Big Island, Hawaii, Pacific Ocean

Picture #: 002045

Stock photo of a manta ray, Manta birostris, and free diver, Kona, Big Island, Hawaii, Pacific Ocean

Picture #: 009979

Image of a manta ray, Manta birostris, feeding on plankton at night, attracted by the lights of a dive boat, Kona, Big Island, Hawaii, Pacific Ocean

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Photo of a manta ray, Manta birostris, feeding on plankton at night, Kona, Big Island, Hawaii, Pacific Ocean

Picture #: 004540

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Picture of a manta ray, Manta birostris, and wildlife photographer, James D. Watt, Kona, Big Island, Hawaii, Pacific Ocean

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Stock photo of a manta ray, Manta birostris, feeding on plankton at night, Kona, Big Island, Hawaii, Pacific Ocean

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Image of a manta ray, Manta birostris, Kona, Big Island, Hawaii, Pacific Ocean

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Photo of a manta ray, Manta birostris, feeding on plankton at night, Kona, Big Island, Hawaii, Pacific Ocean

Picture #: 004536

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Picture of a manta ray, Manta birostris, filter feeding at night, Kona, Big Island, Hawaii, Pacific Ocean

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Stock photo of a manta ray, Manta birostris, feeding on plankton at night, Kona, Big Island, Hawaii, Pacific Ocean

Picture #: 004538

Image of a manta ray, Manta birostris, feeding on plankton at night, Kona, Big Island, Hawaii, Pacific Ocean

Picture #: 004582

Photo of a manta ray, Manta birostris, feeding on plankton at night, Kona, Big Island, Hawaii, Pacific Ocean

Picture #: 005447

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Picture of a manta ray, Manta birostris, and free diver, Kona, Big Island, Hawaii, Pacific Ocean

Picture #: 009975

Stock photo of three giant manta rays, Manta birostris, collide while feeding on plankton attracted by the lights of sport divers, Kona, Big Island of Hawaii, Central Pacific Ocean

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Image of a manta ray, Manta birostris, possible courtship behavior, female in front being followed by four males, Honokohau, Hawaii, Pacific

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Photo of a manta ray, Manta birostris, feeding at night showing large gill slits, Kona, Hawaii, Pacific Ocean

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Picture of a manta ray, Manta birostris, Kona, Big Island, Hawaii, Pacific Ocean

Picture #: 115151

Stock photo of seven manta rays, Manta birostris, feeding at night on plankton attracted by divers' lights, Keahole, Kona, Hawaii Island, Central Pacific Ocean

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Image of a manta ray, Manta birostris, Kona, Big Island, Hawaii, Pacific Ocean

Picture #: 115161

Photo of a close-up of gill arches inside of mouth of feeding manta ray, Manta birostris, Kona, Hawaii, Central Pacific Ocean

Picture #: 036099

 

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