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The Marvelous Manta Mouth

Manta Ray

The Marvelous Manta Mouth

From clam chowder to ice cream sundaes, we rely on spoons daily. Sure, spoons come in handy— but they’re not the only way to grab a snack. Across the animal kingdom, creatures big and small have created ways of eating all their own! You might have seen a camel’s mighty molars or a chameleon’s mega tongue, but have you encountered the marvelous manta mouth?

Let’s meet the manta ray. Not only can this ray measure up to 20 feet in length, but these wacky wonders can also live up to 50 years! And since the manta ray tends to munch on microorganisms, it eats a lot. Too bad spoons are hard to come by in the deep blue sea.

The manta ray, however, had an even better idea! Manta rays have developed two large horns around their mouths. These horns— biologists call cephalic lobes— serve to spoon micro munchies into the manta’s mouth. Whenever the ray craves a crunchy snack, it uses these horns to scoop up krill, zooplankton, and other mini munchies— no spoon necessary!

Plus, the manta ray has some sweet dance moves. Check out this video to see one manta’s rad “coral”-ography! (Nobody knows why manta rays soar sky-high, but they might leap or the breach, to dodge danger or showboat for mates.) Now, that’s what I call a groovy move! 

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