DistributionRead full entry
Range DescriptionThis species has a circumglobal range in tropical and sub-tropical waters. This species is widespread in the Indian Ocean, with images and sightings of the Reef Manta Ray from the Sinai Peninsula in the Red Sea to Durban, South Africa in the Western Indian Ocean, and from Thailand to waters off Perth, Western Australia in the Eastern Indian Ocean. In the eastern and south Pacific, the Reef Manta Ray occurs from southern Honshu and islands on Ryukyu Arc, Japan in the north to the Solitary Islands (New South Wales), Australia in the south and is sighted as far east as French Polynesia south of the equator and the Hawaiian Islands north of the equator. Two verified reports and photographs of the Reef Manta Ray from the North Atlantic off the Canary Islands and the Cape Verde Islands, and historical reports and photos of the Reef Manta Ray off the coast of Senegal in northwest Africa (Cadenat 1958) are the only evidence of populations of the Reef Manta Ray in Atlantic waters.
The Reef Manta Ray is often resident in or along productive near-shore environments, such as island groups, atolls or continental coastlines. This species tends to inhabit warm tropical or sub-tropical waters. Passive and active acoustic tracking in several areas, including Japan, Indonesia, Mozambique, the Maldives, Australia and Hawaii, suggest that individual Reef Manta Rays do not commonly venture from coastal waters, often moving between inshore cleaning stations and feeding areas (Homma et al. 1999, Dewar et al. 2008, Marshall et al. 2009, Deakos 2010a, M. Bennett unpubl. data 2011, T. Clark pers. obs. 2008, G. Stevens unpubl. data 2011).