Mantas are the largest members of the superorder Batoidea, commonly known as rays. Despite their large size (up to 20 feet across), manta rays pose no threat to humans and only feed on tiny organisms such as krill and plankton.
Once believed to be a single species, the Manta genus is nowusually separated into two: Manta bistrosis, the giant ocean manta,and Manta alfredi, the reef manta. The oceanic manta is larger, andcan measure up to 23 feet wide. The reef manta is a bit smaller,with a maximum wingspan of 18 feet. Aside from size, the oceanicand reef mantas can be told apart by their markings. Reef mantasfeature a soft gradient between the white and black markings ontheir backs, whereas oceanic mantas have sharper, crisp separationbetween white and black. This figure represents an oceanicmanta.