Manta ray more than one species


Most people have long assumed that the Manta ray (Manta birostris) was a single species.

However a new study by Australia and African scientists have shown there are at least two masquerading as one. 

They claim that Manta birostris is the most widely distributed member of the Manta genus and found in many oceans, but a second species, previously described as Manta alfredi in 1868, is also valid.

M. alfredi is a smaller, more tropical ray and differs in coloration, dentition and distribution to M. birostris, as well as reaching maturity at a smaller disc size.

A third species, M. sp. cf. birostris may exist in the Atlantic.