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Giant Manta Mating Trains in Nusa Penida (in April) - Travel Tips
Friday, March 23, 2018

Manta Mating Trains

Gianta manta rays are amongst the most majestic, enigmatic and unique creatures of the oceans. Historically little has been known about them and it was only a relatively recent discovery that there are two distinct species of manta; Reef Mantas (Manta alfredi) and Giant or Oceanic Mantas (Manta birostris). Reef mantas are smaller with pectoral fin spans of up to 5.5 meters whilst Oceanic Manta Rays can span 7.5 meters. Manta Rays have ‘spot patterns’ on their ventral sides (underside) which act much like fingerprints and make it possible to identify individuals – each manta’s spot pattern is unique.    

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Both harmless species of Manta are seen around Indonesia but the majority of sightings are reef mantas. Reef mantas are more often found at Manta Point Nusa Penida, mantas cleaning station. You might ever wonder what a manta cleaning station is. Cleaning stations are areas where mantas go to have parasites, dead tissue, and algae build-up removed by cleaner fish. Cleaning is a very important part of the manta ray’s daily routine, and sometimes they spend up to eight hours a day being cleaned by different fish including: scissortail sergeant majors, bicolor cleaner fish, moon wrasses, and butterflyfish. The large round rock formation at Manta Point, is what the manta rays use as a cleaning stations. This rock formation starts around 12 meters underwater and comes up to 3 meters from the surface. This formation is covered in hard corals, in which the reef fish live. It is these reef fish that clean the manta rays. The manta rays will enter this cleaning station and circle the rock slowly while the reef fish clean them. Reef mantas are plankton feeders and their unique ‘cephalic fins’ (the two fins that spiral down on the front of the mantas head) make them very efficient feeders. The fins can be moved independently of each other to direct and maximize the flow of plankton into the mouth. In areas where there is a particularly rich concentration of plankton the mantas are often seen barrel rolling (turning somersaults) – this enables them to stay in the same spot collecting large quantities of plankton whilst dispersing as little of it as possible.

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April is the time of year where the water conditions are the calmest, and this month is the best time to see manta. The main attraction of the dive site in this month is manta ray mating trains with as many as 30 mantas on one dive are often spotted at this site. Manta mating trains happened when a female manta was at the front, followed by several male mantas. At the moment of breeding season, female manta usually swims in the preferred cleaning station. At the same time, male mantas are waiting for female manta at the cleaning station and followed the female manta, male mantas are trying hard to get the closest places from female manta for mating. Based on this reason, this manta mating is called manta mating trains because when these mantas are swimming more look like a train - they are truly enormous. It is no wonder that Manta Point is known as one of Bali’s best dive sites. So, this is once in a lifetime experience you should not to be missed! . Have a plan to watch this amazing view of Giant Manta Mating Trains in Nusa Penida (in April), Whatsapp +6281338667808 or drop me email at agung@bali-agung-tours.com

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