Tag Archives: Manta

Smartest Fish in the Sea? Mantas with PhDs!

Manta Brain
Manta Brain

Mantas have one of the largest brains of all fish! They have a giant rete, web of capillaries and blood vessels, that encases their huge brain and keeps it warm even when diving to incredible depths.

“The gross morphology of their brains resembled the most to that of hammerhead sharks, most likely due to the three dimensional habitat they live, their active and maneuverable lifestyles, highly developed social and migratory behavior and possibly the increased ability of sensory processing thanks to the broad shape of their heads.”

Csilla Ari, renowned manta researcher

Horns, Horns on my head…

Manta Horns
Manta horns

The distinctive ‘horns’ on either side of its broad head are actually derived from the pectoral fins. During embryonic development, part of the pectoral fin breaks away and moves forward, surround the mouth. The way the horns develop is surprisingly simple. All it takes is a tiny notch that deepens and widens as the manta grows, separating each fin into two distinct parts: one for feeding and the remainder for swimming. This give the manta ray the distinction of being the only jawed vertebrate to have novel limbs. These flexible horns are used to direct plankton into its mouth.

Oh, give me a horn on the sides of my head
Where I keep them rolled up all tight;
And where the food is just right I reach out to bite
And the plankton is funneled precisely in.
Chorus
Horns Horns on my head…

Jon B – from Home on the Range