Manta rays are popular visitors to Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Manta rays can reach 22 feet from fin-tip to fin-tip, but the manta rays that visit this region tend to be much smaller. Recent research suggests that these manta rays may be juveniles using the sanctuary’s waters as part of a nursery range.
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Manta birostris
SIZE: Average 23 feet
LIFE SPAN: About 40 years
THREATS: Commercial fishing, especially bycatch
FUN FACT: Unique markings on the undersides of manta rays are like our own fingerprints, and help researchers identify individuals.