Difference between Stingray and Manta Ray

While they both live in the sea, and have a menacing form that might scare off unsuspecting swimmers, stingrays and manta rays are two entirely different species of fish.

Stingrays are more common and famous than manta rays, as stingrays have almost a hundred species, while manta rays have only two species. Another major difference between them is their size – while many think that stingrays are bigger, this is not the case, as manta rays are larger in size, and a lot heavier.

Another key difference between the two is is that stingrays have barbed stings while manta rays do not – consequently, there are many cases where stingrays have attacked and even fatally injured humans. However, no such case has ever been reported in regards to manta rays.

In addition to appearance and features, their habitats are also completely different. Stingrays are generally found in tropical, subtropical, and marine waters; manta rays, however, usually inhabit tropical waters. Along with habitat, their habits also differ a great deal – e.g. manta rays have their gills cleaned by other fish, but stingrays do not.


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    These lethal fish are members of the taxonomic suborder known as Myliobatidae. Stingrays can grow up to around 35 centimeters in length, and their ability to sting with venom makes them extremely dangerous for other animals, as well as humans. Apart from death, their sting can cause muscle cramps, trauma, and painful swellings.

    Stingrays are carnivores and have a keen sense of smell. They do not use their dorsal eyes to locate their prey; instead, they have electroreceptors, which they use to great effect in order to spot other animals. Even though this species is present all over the world, many are registered as endangered or vulnerable, meaning that these fish should not be hunted and need to be preserved.

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    Manta Ray

    Manta alfredi and Manta birostris are the only two manta ray species present in the world. Their body sizes are enormous and they can grow up to more than seven metres in width. In addition, an adult manta ray can weigh up to a staggering 1350 kilograms. These fish have a triangular body, with paddle-like lobes right in front of the mouth. The mouth is considerably large, and has eighteen rows of teeth just on the lower jaw. These big fish are found in tropical and sometimes subtropical marines. Another unique characteristic of this species is that they let smaller fish, such as wrasse, remora and angelfish, clean their gills by feeding on any particles; in this way, they also stay free of parasites. This species is characterised by dark colours on the dorsal side and lighter colours on the ventral region.

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