If you have been into an oceanarium, you may have seen many marine species like sharks, dolphins, turtles, or jellyfish around this museum. Truthfully, going to places like this can help you get closer and familiarize yourself with these water animals. But although most of these creatures look alike, they all have different purposes. They came from various families of fish.
You may have also seen a Manta ray and Stingray in an oceanarium but are confused between the two. Well, no one can deny the fact that these two marine animals do certainly look similar to each other. However, there’s much more that you should know; they both differ in many ways. Let’s see what’s the difference between Manta ray vs. Stingray.
Manta ray vs. Stingray
Before jumping into the main part, let’s first discover something about the manta ray and the Stingray. As stated above, yes, they somewhat look like the first you see them. But there’s something more that you should know about these species. Here are a brief description of Manta ray and Stingray
Manta rays are cold-blooded fish with flat diamond form bodies. They are usually giant rays that belong to the genus Mobula. This marine species is also known to be highly intelligent and the largest rays that live in the temperate, tropical, and subtropical ocean waters worldwide.
On the other hand, stingrays are flat-bodied ray fish known for the long and sharp spines on their tail. This species is primarily composed of cartilage that is closely related to sharks. Accordingly, stingrays are also sometimes called “flattened sharks,” being associated as cousins to sharks. One unique feature of stingrays is their barb located in the tail for defense.
This spine or barb is a “dermal denticle” on sharks and rays. It is a weapon that cannot only stick to its attacker but can also send venom from the mucus on the barb’s coating. As a result, this can cause throbbing and pain to its prey.
What is the difference?
They Differ in Diet
While it may seem that they have the same diet, Manta rays and stingrays process each of their foods differently. With their mouths found below their bodies, Manta rays use their own gill rakes in order to strain zooplankton that came from the water. They only nourish small organisms and not the fishes. What’s more, they swim like they are flying through the sea with their pectoral fins guiding them when they drift to the water.
Meanwhile, stingrays feed on larger marine species. They eat small fish, sea worms, shrimps, squid, and even clams. They hunt by concealing themselves in the ocean’s sand floor to catch their target or prey. Having their mouth on the bottom of their own body, they can quickly eat prey that they pass by on the seabed.
Manta Rays Don’t Have Spines
Another difference between them is that Manta rays don’t have spines. Also known as “barbs,” Manta rays are not gifted with this kind of tail. Although manta rays and stingrays can also look alike at a usual point, they have distinct features.
Still, depending on what kind of Stingray, the barb can also have toothed venom and edges. This means that the poison found on the barb of a stingray is deadly and can kill humans. However, it is essential to know that stingrays don’t use their barbs or spines to hunt. Instead, this serves as a defense reaction when their predators threaten them.
Conversely, Manta rays are also known for their long tails just like stingrays, but they don’t come with barbs. So, it only means that they are not lethal and cannot sting you, if that’s the case. Generally, they are much safer to deal with than stingrays. On a related note, manta rays usually use their speed and size to protect themselves from their predators. Hence, they only have fewer predators compared to stingrays.
One last reason why Manta ray differs from Stingray is their living environment. Perhaps many of you thought that these two species live in the same kind of water setting. If that’s the case, then you are wrong.
We’ve already noted that manta rays live in the temperate, tropical, and subtropical ocean waters worldwide. While manta rays can live in such a way, stingrays can only live when they are in freshwater.
Although such stingrays are nothing but small for some people, don’t be fooled by their measurement. Stingrays are more accountable for any cases of human deaths than any other species on Earth. Well, what can you expect? Of course, it’s due to their defensive mechanism, which is the lethal barbs.
The Bottom Line
These are only some of the many few notes about Manta ray vs. Stingray. As you know, there are still several reasons why they differ from each other. Most often than not, people may have thought that Manta rays are Stingrays and the other way around. Hopefully, with these posts, you can see how both species are not the same as the other.
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Part of our profit from your purchase from our unique Sea-inspired jewelry goes to Ocean conservation charities that are helping save the marine habitat.
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