Difference Between Manta Ray And Stingray

Manta Rays and stingrays are two different types of rays. Both are members of the ray family that are related to sharks. Both manta rays and stingrays have a flat body shape and long tails. The main differences between these two types of rays are their size, appearance, and habitat. Let’s take a deep look inside the main differences between manta rays and stingrays.

Difference Between Manta Ray And Stingray

There are a lot of differences between manta rays and stingrays:


The first main difference is their body size. Manta rays are much larger than stingrays and can grow up to 29 feet long and weigh over 3,000 pounds. While stingrays only grow about 5 to 6.5 feet long and weigh around 790 pounds.

manta ray vs stingray size

Body Shape

Another main difference between manta rays and stingrays is their body shape and appearance. Manta rays have a flat body shape, while stingrays have a curved or “humped” body shape.


Manta rays also have large triangular pectoral fins on either side of their bodies, while stingrays have smaller dorsal fins in the middle region of their backs.

manta ray shape
manta ray


Moreover, manta rays prefer to live in waters as deep as 3,000 feet beneath the surface. Stingrays tend to live in shallow waters. Even the deep-water-stingray species are found at the depth of 900-2,230 feet below the surface.

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The final, and perhaps the most prominent difference between these two rays is that manta rays have long tails. While stingrays have a thin whip-like tail with barbs or spine with serrated edges and a sharp pointed end, which they use to defend themselves. Their barbs are poisonous and can deliver venom. The tails of manta rays lack such barbs.


Are Manta Ray And Stingray The Same Thing?

No, a stingray and a manta ray are not the same thing. Stingrays are a group of rays that are a type of cartilaginous fish. They have long, flat bodies and long thin tails with poisonous spines or barbs.

A manta ray is also a type of cartilaginous fish, but it has a much larger body as compared to stingrays and has large triangular pectoral fins. Manta rays have long tails with no stinger and do not have a poisonous spine.

manta ray
manta ray

Which Is The Bigger Manta Ray Or The Stingray?

The manta ray is the bigger of the two ray types. Manta rays can attain a size of up to 29 feet, weigh up to 3,000 pounds, and have an impressive wingspan of 11 to 29 feet. While stingrays reach a maximum size of around 6.5 feet, weigh about 790 pounds, and have a wingspan of 2 to 4.6 feet.

Do Manta Rays Or Stingrays Bite?

Manta rays and stingrays are both peaceful creatures of the sea. They are filter feeders and eat plankton and small fish as their diet. They have big mouths with plates of keratin instead of teeth that help them to crush their food. Although manta rays cannot bite with their mouths or sting with their tails, stingrays can deliver a painful sting with their tails if provoked. Their sting also delivers venom through the venomous barb or spine, which can be deadly to humans.

stingray shape

Why Should You Not Touch A Manta Ray?

Manta rays are gentle giants of the ocean but they are still wild animals. They may react defensively if provoked or feel threatened. So it will be best to swim or watch them from a distance and avoid touching them.

Can You Swim With Manta Rays?

Yes, you can swim with manta rays. Manta rays are peaceful giants of the ocean and swimming with them is an unforgettable experience. These beautiful creatures are harmless to humans and often curious about swimmers. While they are harmless, it is still important to give them space and should not touch or disturb them in any way.

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