I like to call them Majestic Sea Flap Flaps. They look like if you crossed a unicorn with a stingray. They’re like anthropomorphic underwater pancakes. Manta rays are beautiful animals and I adore them very much.
What’s really fascinating about manta rays is that they are very intelligent creatures. Their brains are so well-developed that they are likely to recognize themselves in the mirror. Their intelligence is compared to that of dolphins, and primates. In addition, they have a good sense of sight and smell, which contributes to a good memory.
That’s really impressive. Honestly, I should write a book filled with short stories about intelligent manta rays saving the ocean—and the day—with their strong, smart brains. It sounds like a fun project.
Who else remembers the movie Shark Tale? Another fascinating thing about these lovely creatures is that they visit coral reef cleaning stations where smaller fish clean them of parasites and dead skin, and often return to the same place multiple times. This reminds me so much of the whale wash in Shark Tale. Except this is the real-life, manta ray version.
It also reminds me of something I learned in advertising class my last semester of college, I learned about brand loyalty. The fact that manta rays return to the same spot to get clean reminds me so much of that term. If I were an advertising teacher, I would definitely use this as an example of brand loyalty.
There are actually two types of manta ray: the reef manta ray and the giant oceanic manta ray. The reef manta ray lives along the Indio-Pacific coastline and the giant oceanic manta ray lives in all the major oceans, far away from land. They are also describable as “aquatic gentle giants,” as a reef manta rays have a wingspans of up to 11 feet and the oceanic rays have wingspans as big as 29 feet!
What’s fascinating about manta rays is that their offspring, called “pups,” are independent at birth. It gets me thinking deeply. I wish I had learned how to do my own laundry at age nine. I wish I learned how to mow the lawn when I was in the fifth grade. I honestly feel like I could learn a lot about independence and housework from baby manta rays.
You might be wondering, “What, exactly, does the name manta ray come from?” Good question! The name comes from the Spanish word for blanket or cloak. Considering the huge wingspan of the animals, that is no shock to me. Honestly, I think of them as big sea blankets. They are adorable.
Ever see a manta ray jump out of the water? This is why I like to call them cutie majestic sea flap flaps. They just seem so happy when the jump out of the ocean. It’s like an aquatics show, but much better because they’re in their natural habitat.
I even like to make cookies shaped like manta rays! Back in the fall, I purchased a cookie cutter shaped like one. The reason I did that was because on April 14, 2019, I Tweeted the Tampa Bay Rays, “If y’all make the playoffs I’ll bake a batch of manta ray shaped cookies.” They ended up doing well enough to make the playoffs, so on September 29, 2019, I Tweeted at them again, this time saying, “As soon as I get some sugar cookie dough from the store, I will bake them cookies @RaysBaseball.” The cookies were so cute! They were delicious, too. Speaking of the Tampa Bay Rays, another reason I love manta rays is because of a cute GIF a fellow Rays fan likes to post.
Each time the Rays would win, the fellow fan would post a GIF of a little stingray costume dancing. I can’t get over how adorable that GIF is. It reiterates how much I loves these majestic sea creatures.
In conclusion, manta rays are gorgeous animals and gentle aquatic giants that need to be protected at all costs.