A holiday in the Maldives is an exciting prospect and once here, it gets even more so thanks to the high chances you have of spotting all kinds of rays! Before you start running down the jetty or along the beach flapping your arms madly shouting ‘Manta! Manta! Manta!’ check the following easy guide on how to identify the main three different types of rays you can see while on holiday at Innahura Maldives Resort.
Top of many guests’ bucket lists are mantas, they have a diamond shaped body with a wing span reaching up to four metres. The upper surface is black, while the underside is white with black markings (these markings are unique to each manta and are used to identify individuals). They have a small fin at the base of the long, thin tail. At the front is a wide, forward facing mouth with a fin each side – these can extend straight out like horns from their bodies to help channel the plankton into the mouth while feeding. Often seen in shallow waters while at cleaning stations or when feeding, they are unforgettable sightings for our divers and snorkellers.
Usually around metre in wing span with a diamond body shape. Eagle rays are mainly black with small white spots and have a distinct head that is shaped perfectly for digging up food from the sandy bottom; the mouth is positioned on the under side of the head. The tail is long and has spines at its base. Eagle rays can often be seen ‘flying’ through the water column in large groups and diving with an underwater scooter will give you the best chance of seeing big formations of them.
If the ray you see has a more round, disc-like shape with no distinct head and it has a mouth on the underside of the body, it is likely to be a sting ray, the size of which depends on the species. They are usually found on the bottom where they search for crustaceans, rest and hide from predators. They are rarely seen swimming in the water column and when they move to a new place they usually swim very close to the reef. Most stingrays have a barb on their tail for defense against predators but, as with eagle rays, unless threatened, pose no threat to divers or snorkellers.
For the best chances of seeing the amazing rays of the Maldives, as well as countless other fascinating marine creatures, join our snorkelling and scuba diving excursions.