Giant Manta Rays get their name from the Spanish word for “cloak” and their nickname, “devil ray,” thanks to their fins that extend into a point, or horn, on either side of their head. They are distant cousins of sharks, both being chondrichthyan and having an internal skeleton of cartilage.
Primarily solitary creatures, Giant Manta Rays group together to mate, feed, and clean at “cleaning sites,” where small fish will eat their dead skin and parasites.
Giant Manta Rays live up to 50 years-old and eat a combination of plankton and fish. They typically feed at the water’s surface, where they can accidentally ingest floating balloons and balloon debris. Their modus operandi is to swim quickly with their mouth open and take in as much as possible. Once the food or debris is swallowed it passes through their gills to be filtered and digested.
Our efforts to rid the ocean of balloons and balloon debris will help ensure the Giant Manta Rays can continue to swim and feed as they have been doing for hundreds of thousands of years.