Manta Ray, Mobula alfredi (Krefft 1868)


Other Names: Alfred Manta, Australian Devil Ray, Coastal Manta Ray, Devilfish, Inshore Manta Ray, Munguna, Prince Alfreds Ray, Prince Alfred's Ray, Reef Manta Ray, Resident Manta Ray

A Manta Ray, Manta alfredi. Source: Lydie Couterier. License: CC BY Attribution

Summary:
The Manta Ray is often encountered in large numbers when feeding and individuals are sometimes seen travelling in schools. In Australia, divers are more likely to encounter the Manta Ray than the Giant Manta Ray, Mobula birostris.

In publications prior to the revision of the family Mobulidae (White et al. 2017) Mobula alfredi was known as Manta alfredi.

Video of a Manta Ray at Julian Rocks near Byron Bay, New South Wales.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Mobula alfredi in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Nov 2018, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/2738

Manta Ray, Mobula alfredi (Krefft 1868)

More Info


Distribution

Known on Australian waters from about Perth, Western Australia, around the tropical north to the Solitary Islands, New South Wales; also Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean. Elsewhere the species is circumglobal in tropical waters.
Often seen inshore around coral and rocky reefs in tropical and subtropical waters. manta rays also occur around offshore reefs and seamounts. 

Individuals undertake seasonal migrations and aggregate at certain sites, presumably during times of high seasonal plankton productivity. 

Feeding

Manta rays have a broad mouth at the end of the head with a single band of minute teeth in the upper jaw. They have two cephalic lobes on the front of their heads that help direct water flow into the mouth. Mantas have gills modified into complex sieving plates through which filter plankton from the water. 
Manta Rays feed in surface waters, as well as diving beyond the continental shelf to feed in the mesopelagic layers (Braun et al. 2014).

Biology

Females are thought to mature at 8–10 years of age, and may live to at least 40 years. DW at maturity is estimated to be 270-300 cm for males and 370-390cm for females. 
The species is aplacental viviparous, with embryos developing within the uterus. The developing embryos initially feed on yolk and are later nourished by specialised uterine milk. The gestation period is between 12 and 13 months, and females usually give birth to only a single pup every 2-3 years.  

Fisheries

Although not targeted in Australia, Manta rays are highly prized internationally for their gill rakers. This rising demand for gill rakers in Asian markets has led to the development of new and specialised fisheries. As a result, Manta rays are targeted in large numbers by unregulated fisheries in parts of the world. The species is also taken as bycatch in artisinal and commercial fisheries, and in shark control nets.

Conservation

EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed

IUCN Red List : Vulnerable

CITES Listed

Manta rays are highly valued in the Traditional Chinese Medicine industry, especially for their gill rakers. The species is also caught for food in artisanal fisheries, and as bycatch in a range of commercial fisheries and shark-control programs.

Similar Species

Differs from Giant Manta Ray, Mobula birostris, by having dark spots on the middle of the underside between the gill slits (vs. spots absent in the Giant Manta), and whitish-coloured shoulder patches arising from the spiracle before curving medially (vs. the very distinct and triangular-shaped shoulder patches of the Giant Manta Ray).

Etymology

The species is named alfredi for Queen Victoria’s son Prince Alfred, who survived an assassination attempt at Clontarf, Sydney, in 1868.

Species Citation

Ceratoptera alfredi Krefft, 1868, llustrated Sydney News 11 July 5(50): 3. Type locality: Watsons Bay, Sydney Harbour, NSW. [Originally published as Manly, NSW, but see Whitley, 1936.] 

Author

Bray, D.J. 2017

Resources

Australian Faunal Directory

Manta Ray, Mobula alfredi (Krefft 1868)

References


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls

Bennett MB, Coman F, Townsend K, Couturier LIE, Jaine F, Richardson AJ. 2016. A historical and contemporary consideration of the diet of the reef manta ray, Manta alfredi, from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research doi:10.1071/MF16046

Boerger, CM, Lattin, GL, Moore, SL & Moore, CJ. 2010. Plastic ingestion by planktivorous fishes in the North Pacific Central Gyre. Marine Pollution Bulletin 60(12): 2275-2278.

Braun, C.D., Skomal, G.B., Thorrold, S.R. & Berumen, M.L. 2014. Diving behaviour of the reef manta ray links coral reefs with adjacent deep pelagic habitats. PLoS One 9, e88170. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0088170

Compagno, L.J.V. & Last, P.R. 1999. Families Gymnuridae, Myliobatidae, Rhinopteridae, Mobulidae. pp. 1505-1529 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds) The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol.  3 1397-2068 pp.

Couturier, L.I.E., C.L. Dudgeon, K.H. Pollock, F.R.A. Jaine, M.B. Bennett, K.A. Townsend, S.J. Weeks & A.J. Richardson. 2014. Population dynamics of the reef manta ray Manta alfredi in eastern Australia. Coral Reefs: DOI 10.1007/s00338-014-1126-5

Couturier, L.I.E., Jaine, F.R.A., Townsend, K.A., Weeks, S.J., Richardson, A.J. & Bennett, M.B. 2011. Distribution, site affinity and regional movements of the manta ray, Manta alfredi (Krefft, 1868), along the east coast of Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research 62: 628–637.

Couturier LI, Marshall AD, Jaine FR, Kashiwagi T, Pierce SJ, et al. 2012. Biology, ecology and conservation of the Mobulidae. Journal of Fish Biology 80: 1075–1119. DOI: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.2012.03264.x

Deakos, M. 2010. Paired-laser photogrammetry as a simple and accurate system for measuring the body size of free-ranging manta rays Manta alfredi. Aquatic Biology 10: 1-10.

Heinrichs, S, O’Malley, M, Medd, H & Hilton, P. 2011. The Global threat to Manta and Mobula Rays. New York

Ito, T. & Kashiwagi, T. 2010. Morphological and genetic identification of two species of manta ray occurring in Japanese waters: Manta birostris and M. alfredi. Report of Japanese Society for Elasmobranch Studies 46: 8-10.

Jaine FRA, Couturier LIE, Weeks SJ, Townsend KA, Bennett MB, et al. 2012. When Giants Turn Up: Sighting Trends, Environmental Influences and Habitat Use of the Manta Ray Manta alfredi at a Coral Reef. PLoS ONE 7(10): e46170 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0046170

Kashiwagi, T., Ito, T. & Sato, F. 2010. Occurrences of reef manta ray, Manta alfredi, and giant manta ray, M. birostris, in Japan, examined by photographic records. Report of Japanese Society for Elasmobranch Studies 46: 20-27.

Kashiwagi, T., Marshall, A.D., Bennett, M.B. & Ovenden, J.R. 2011. Habitat segregation and mosaic sympatry of the two species of manta ray in the Indian and Pacific Oceans: Manta alfredi and M. birostris. Marine Biodiversity Records 4: e53 (8 pages) DOI:10.1017/S1755267211000479

Kitchen-Wheeler, A. 2010. Visual Identification of individual manta rays (Manta alfredi) in the Maldives Islands, Western Indian Ocean. Marine Biology Research  6: 351-363.

Krefft, G. 1868. Ceratoptera alfredi (Prince Alfred's ray). Illustrated Sydney News 11 July 5(50): 1-16, 10 figs

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Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Collingwood : CSIRO Publishing Australia 2, 550 pp.

Marshall, A.D. & Bennett, M.B. 2010. Reproductive ecology of the reef manta ray (Manta alfredi) in southern Mozambique. Journal of Fish Biology 77: 169-190.

Marshall, A.D. & Bennett, M.B. 2010. The frequency and effect of shark-inflicted bite injuries to the reef manta ray (Manta alfredi). African Journal of Marine Science 32: 573-580.

Marshall, A.D, Compagno, L.J.V. & Bennett, M.B. 2009. Redescription of the genus Manta with resurrection of Manta alfredi (Krefft, 1868) (Chondrichthyes; Myliobatoidei; Mobulidae). Zootaxa 2301: 1-28.

Marshall, A.D., Dudgeon, C. & Bennett, M.B. 2011. Size and structure of a photographically identified population of manta rays Manta alfredi in southern Mozambique. Marine Biology 158(5): 1111-1124.

Marshall, A., Kashiwagi, T., Bennett, M.B., Deakos, M., Stevens, G., McGregor, F., Clark, T., Ishihara, H. & Sato, K. 2011. Manta alfredi. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. Downloaded on 07 November 2012.

O’Shea, O.R., Kingsford, M.J. & Seymour, J. 2010. Tide-related periodicity of manta rays and sharks to cleaning stations on a coral reef. Marine and Freshwater Research 61: 65-73.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs

Sato, K., Uchida, S., Nishida, K., Toda, M., Obata, H., Matsumoto, Y., Kitadani, Y. and Miura, H. 2010. Records of manta ray (Myliobatidae) from southern Japanese waters and their taxonomy, field identifications and suggested Japanese names. Report of Japanese Society for Elasmobranch Studies 46: 11-19.

Stead, D.G. 1906. Fishes of Australia. Sydney : William Brooks & Co. Limited 278 pp

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Tomita T., Toda M., Ueda K., Uchida S. and Nakaya K. (2012) Live-bearing manta ray: how the embryo acquires oxygen without placenta and umbilical cord. Biology Letters 8: 721-724  doi:10.1098/rsbl.2012.0288

White, W.T., Corrigan, S., Yang, L., Henderson, A.C., Bazinet, A.L., Swofford, D.L. & Naylor, G.J.P. 2017. Phylogeny of the manta and devilrays (Chondrichthyes: mobulidae), with an updated taxonomic arrangement for the family. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 2017 zlx018. doi: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlx018 Open access

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Whitley, G.P. 1932. Studies in Ichthyology No. 6. Records of the Australian Museum 18(6): 321-348 figs 1-3 pls 36-39

Whitley, G.P. 1936. The Australian devil ray, Daemomanta alfredi (Krefft), with remarks on the superfamily Mobuloidea (order Batoidei). The Australian Zoologist 8(3): 164-188.

Whitley, G.P. 1936. Devil Ray! The Australian Museum Magazine 1-12.

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Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37041005

Behaviour:IUCN Vulnerable; CITES Listed

Depth:0-452 m

Habitat:Reef associated, pelagic

Max Size:500 cm DW (disc width)

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map