Manta birostris   (Walbaum,  1792) (Fish)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Elasmobranchii

Image copyrights: CSIRO

Size: Common length 450 cm WD (male/unsexed)

Max. published weight: 3,000.0 kg

Color: Dark greenish brown superiorly; ventral side white.

Head truncate in front, greatly depressed, broad and free from pectoral fins. Pectorals produced forward and inward as a fleshy flap on each side in front of eyes. Head from tip of cephalic “horn” to hind margin of spiracle 2.5-2.7 in length of disc. Length of disc 1.9-2.3 in its width. Width of head 1.8-1.9 in length of disc. Mouth very wide, terminal, lower jaw somewhat convex and projects beyond the upper. Tubercle-like teeth in many rows present, in lower jaw only. Pectoral tips falcate. Dorsal fin triangular, situated above the base of tail and opposite to ventrals. Tail slender, whip-like, without serrated spine and as long as or slightly longer than length of disc. Dorsal surface rather rough.

Dioecious, internal (oviduct) fertilization, internal live bearers. Exhibit ovoviparity (aplacental viviparity), with embryos feeding initially on yolk, then receiving additional nourishment from the mother by indirect absorption of uterine fluid enriched with mucus, fat or protein through specialized structures. Bears up to 2 young; born at 122-127 cm WD. Yano et al (1999) describe the mating behavior of manta rays based on observations off Ogasawara Islands, Japan, in the following sequence: 1) 'chasing', the male rapidly follows behind the tail of the female and attacks her several times; 2) 'nipping', the male nips the tip of the pectoral fin of the female and then moves to the ventral surface of the female; 3) 'copulating', the male inserts a clasper into the cloacaof the female and copulates abdomen-to-abdomen, up to 123 seconds; 4) 'post-copulating'; 5) 'separating'.

Max. reported age: 20 years

World's largest ray.

Remarks: Values in above description denote proportions.

Synonym (s)
Manta ehrenbergii Misra, 1969
Raja birostris Donndorff, 1792
Raja birostris Walbaum, 1792
Manta birostris Smith, 1949
Brachioptilon hamiltoni Hamilton & Newman, 1849
(Junior synonym)
Cephalopterus manta Bancroft, 1829
(Junior synonym)
Cephalopterus vampyrus Mitchill, 1824
(Junior synonym)
Ceratoptera alfredi (non Krefft, 1868)
(Misapplied name)
Ceratoptera johnii Muller & Henle, 1841
(Junior synonym)
Manta alfredi (non Krefft, 1868)
(Misapplied name)
Manta americana Bancroft, 1829
(Junior synonym)
Manta birostris (Walbaum, 1792)
(Senior synonym)
Manta ehrenbergi (non Muller & Henle, 1841)
(Misapplied name)
Manta hamiltoni (Hamilton & Newman, 1849)
(Junior synonym)
Raja birostris Walbaum, 1792
(Senior synonym)
Raja manatia Bloch & Schneider, 1801
(Junior synonym)

Common Name (s)
• Kottar
• Manta Ray (English)
• Kottuwa Tiriki (Tamil)
• Giant Devil Ray (English)
• Atlantic manta (English)
• Giant Manta (English)
• Manta (English)
• Devil ray
• Kotuwa Tiriki (Tamil)
• Kombu Tirukai (Tamil)
• Thirandi
• Wagla (Marathi)
• Bolar (Marathi)
• Shing Pakat (Marathi)
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial
(Fisheries. Utilized for its gill filter plates, meat, cartilage and skin. Liver yields oil and skin used as abrasive.)
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(The main threats for this species are fishing activities where mantas are targeted or caught as bycatch. Their large size, slow speed, and tendency to be found on the surface make manta rays an easy target for fishermen. The existence of anthropogenic pressures, from direct/indirect fisheries to pollution and exploitation of coastal environments, in areas supporting critical habitats like breeding, birthing, and nursery grounds, is an increased threat to these populations which congregate in mass numbers in these areas or use them as refuges for their young.)

Habitat:  Pelagic, Reef Associated, Muddy, Coastal
Trophic Level:  Tertiary Consumer
Prey:  Euphausiids, crabs, shrimps/prawns, planktonic copepods
Predator:  Sharks, Orcinus orca (whale)


• Lakshadweep, Minicoy INDIA (Record: 1980)
• Tamil Nadu INDIA (Record: 1998)
• Kerala INDIA (Record: 1998)
• Red Sea
• Gujarat INDIA
• Gujarat, Off Veraval INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Wafar, MVM (2003) Checklists of reef fauna Available at -
  • Kunhipalu, KK and Boopendranath, MR (1981) Note on the catch of a giant ray Manta birostris (Walbaum) off Veraval, north west coast of India Indian Journal of Fisheries 28(1-2) 278-280
  • Zoological Survey of India (Eds) (1991) Animal resources of India (Protozoa to Mammalia) ZSI 1-694 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Talwar, PK and Kacker, RK (1984) Commercial sea fishes of India ZSI, Calcutta 997 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • James, C; O'Farrell, S; Hamylton, S; Ingwersen, C and Walker, R The coral reef resources of Mu Ko Surin national park, Thailand Coral Cay Conservation Available at -
  • Hussain, SM Brief report on biodiversity in the coastal areas of Pakistan p 113
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at -
  • Cliff, G (1995) Sharks caught in the protective gill nets off Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. 8. The great hammerhead shark Sphyrna mokarran (Ruppell) South African Journal of Marine Science 15 105-114 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Letourneur, Y; Chabanet, P; Durville, P; Taquet, M; Teissier, E; Parmentier, M; Quero, JC and Pothin, K (2004) An updated checklist of the marine fish fauna of Reunion Island, south-western Indian Ocean Cybium 28(3) 199-216
  • Kemp, JM (1998) Zoogeography of the coral reef fishes of the Socotra Archipelago Journal of Biogeography 25 919-933
  • Jones, S and Kumaran, M (1980) Fishes of the Laccadive Archipelago The Nature Conservation and Aquatic Sciences Service, Trivandrum, Kerala 760 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Froese, R and Pauly, D (2000) Fishbase 2000: Concepts, design and data sources ICLARM 344 pp Available at -
  • Hanfee, F (1999) Management of shark fisheries in two Indian coastal states: Tamil Nadu and Kerala Case studies of the management of elasmobranch fisheries. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 378 Rome, FAO Part 1 (11) Available at -
  • Jones, S. (1969) Catalogue of fishes from the Laccadive Archipelago in the reference collections of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute. Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI, Cochin 8 1-35 Available at -
  • Raje, SG; Sivakami, S; Mohanraj, G; Manoj Kumar, PP; Raju, A and Joshi, KK (2007) An atlas on the Elasmobranch fishery resources of India CMFRI Special publication CMFRI, Cochin, India. 95 253pp Available at -
  • Kizhakudan, SJ; Nair, KVS and Zala, MS Demersal Finfish Resources of Gujarat Sustainable fisheries development: Focus on Gujarat 57-66 Available at -
  • Pillai, PKM and Augustine, SK (2000) A code list of common marine living resources of the Indian seas CMFRI Special Publication No.12 CMFRI 1-115 Available at -
  • Biswas, KP (2009) Fishes around Indian Ocean Elasmobranch Fishes Daya publishing house Available at - NIO,Goa

Page last updated on:2011-12-23

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