Ichthyological Research

, Volume 56, Issue 1, pp 96–99 | Cite as

Seasonal occurrences of Manta birostris (Chondrichthyes: Mobulidae) in southeastern Brazil

  • Osmar J. LuizJr
  • Ana Paula Balboni
  • Guilherme Kodja
  • Maurício Andrade
  • Heloisa Marum
Short Report


An analysis of 79 underwater photographs of Manta birostris gathered over a period of nine years in a marine protected area in southeastern Brazil suggests a high predictability of manta ray occurrences in the region during the austral winter (June–September). The reasons for this are probably related to the seasonal oceanographic conditions, as characterized by the presence of a coastal front at the study site in winter and consequent plankton enrichment, which provides a feeding opportunity for manta rays. In addition, a melanistic individual in the Atlantic Ocean that is similar in color to the Pacific Ocean’s “black manta” is reported for the first time.


Manta birostris Seasonality Coastal front Melanism Laje de Santos Marine State Park 



We are very grateful to all our colleagues and dive buddies that contributed with photographs: Adilson Policiclio, Armando de Luca Jr., Christian Souza, Christina Vieira, Christina Zeppini, Eduardo Guariglia, Jean Marcel, Lara Cheidde, Lucas Persona, Paula Romano, Paulão Amorim, Rafael Esteves, Regis Ezipato, Renata Linger, Ricardo Feres, Roberto “Turcão” Ajaj, Silvio Stefanelli, Tércio Leal, Ulisses Turati, Valter Marquart and Willian Spinetti. Clovis B. de Carvalho (Centralmar Dive Center) and Instituto Laje Viva provided much valuable logistic support. We also thank Steven Wilson, Jean-C. Joyeux, João P. Barreiros, Luiz Rocha, Marcelo de Carvalho and Michael Feeley for comments on the manuscript. Rodrigo Mazzoleni and Paulo Bertuol contributed unpublished information. This work was part of the project Foto-identificação e sazonalidade da raia manta (Manta birostris) no Parque Estadual Marinho da Laje de Santos’ developed by the Instituto Laje Viva with the support of the Instituto Florestal—SP (COTEC - 42.637/2006). Essential financial support was provided by CNPq (grant 135112/2007-9 to OJLJr). This paper is dedicated to the memory of Kazunari Yano.


  1. Acha EM, Mianzan HW, Guerrero RA, Favero M, Bava RA (2004) Marine fronts at the continental shelves of austral South America: physical and ecological processes. J Mar Syst 44:83–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barton O (1948) Color notes on Pacific manta, including a new form. Copeia 1948:146–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bigelow HB, Schroeder WC (1953) Sawfishes, guitarfishes, skates and rays. In: Tee-Van J, Breder CM, Hildebrand SF, Parr AE, Schroeder WC (eds) Fishes of the western North Atlantic, part 2. Yale University, New Haven, CT, pp 1–588Google Scholar
  4. Campos EJD, Miller JL, Müller TJ, Peterson RG (1995) Physical oceanography of the Southwest Atlantic Ocean. Oceanography 8:87–91Google Scholar
  5. Campos EJD, Lorenzzetti JA, Stevenson MR, Stech JL, Souza RB (1996) Penetration of waters from the Brazil-Malvinas confluence region along the South American Continental Shelf up to 23°S. Anais Acad Brasileira Ciências 68(S1):49–58Google Scholar
  6. Clark T (2005) Remote tracking of the manta ray (Manta birostris) in Hawai‘i. Pac Sci 59:111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Duffy CAJ, Abbot D (2003) Sightings of mobulid rays from northern New Zealand, with confirmation of the occurrence of Manta birostris in New Zealand waters. NZ J Mar Freshw Res 37:715–721CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Eckert SA, Stewart BS (2001) Telemetry and satellite tracking of whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico, and the north Pacific Ocean. Environ Biol Fish 60:299–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Etnoyer P, Canny D, Mate BR, Morgan LE, Ortega-Ortiz JG, Nichols WJ (2006) Sea surface temperature gradients across blue whale and sea turtle foraging trajectories off the Baja California Peninsula, Mexico. Deep-Sea Res Part II 53:340–358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Franks PJS (1992) Sink or swim: accumulation of biomass at fronts. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 82:1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Homma K, Maruyama T, Itoh T, Ishihara H, Uchida S (1999) Biology of the manta ray, Manta birostris Walbaum, in the Indo-Pacific. In: Séret B, Sire J-Y (eds) Proceedings of the 5th Indo Pacific Fish Conference, Nouméa, 1997. Societé Française d′Ichthyologie, Paris, pp 209–216Google Scholar
  12. Le Fèvre J (1986) Aspects of the biology of frontal systems. Adv Mar Biol 23:163–299CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lobel PS (2003) Marine life of Johnston Atoll, Central Pacific Ocean. Natural World Press, Vida, ORGoogle Scholar
  14. Mazzoleni RC, Schwingel PR (1999) Elasmobranch species landed in Itajaí Harbor Southern Brazil. Notas Técnicas FACIMAR 3:111–118Google Scholar
  15. Milessi AC, Oddone MC (2003) Primer registro de Manta birostris (Donndorff 1798) (Batoidea: Mobulidae) en el Rio de La Plata, Uruguay. Gayana 67:126–129Google Scholar
  16. Molina-Schiller D, Rosales SA, Freitas TRO (2005) Oceanographic conditions off coastal South America in relation to the distribution of Burmeister’s porpoise, Phocoena spinipinnis. LAJAM 4:141–156Google Scholar
  17. Notarbartolo-di-Sciara G (1988) Natural history of the rays of the genus Mobula in the Gulf of California. Fish Bull 86:45–66Google Scholar
  18. Notarbartolo-di-Sciara G, Hillyer EV (1989) Mobulid rays off eastern Venezuela (Chondrichthyes, Mobulidae). Copeia 1989:607–614CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Pereira CS (1989) Seasonal variability in the coastal circulation on the Brazilian continental shelf (29ºS–35ºS). Continent Shelf Res 9:285–299CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Pimenta FM, Campos EJD, Miller JL, Piola AR (2005) A numerical study of the Plata River plume along the southeastern South American continental shelf. Brazil J Oceanogr 53:129–146Google Scholar
  21. Piola AR, Campos EJD, Möller OO Jr, Charo M, Martinez C (2000) The subtropical shelf front off eastern South America. J Geophys Res 105:6565–6578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Sims DW, Quayle VA (1998) Selective foraging behaviour of basking sharks on zooplankton in a small-scale front. Nature 393:460–464CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sims DW, Fox AM, Merrett DA (1997) Basking shark occurrence off south-west England in relation to zooplankton abundance. J Fish Biol 51:436–440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Taylor JG (1996) Seasonal occurrence, distribution and movements of the whale shark, Rhincodon typus, at the Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. Mar Freshw Res 47:637–642CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Wilson SG (2004) Basking sharks (Cetorhinus maximus) schooling in the southern Gulf of Maine. Fish Oceanogr 13:283–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Wilson SG, Taylor JG, Pearce AF (2001) The seasonal aggregation of whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia: currents, migrations and the El Niño/Southern Oscillation. Environ Biol Fish 61:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Yano K, Sato F, Takahashi T (1999) Observations of mating behavior of the manta ray, Manta birostris, at the Ogasawara Islands, Japan. Ichthyol Res 46:289–296CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Ichthyological Society of Japan 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Osmar J. LuizJr
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ana Paula Balboni
    • 2
  • Guilherme Kodja
    • 2
  • Maurício Andrade
    • 3
  • Heloisa Marum
    • 3
  1. 1.Depto. de ZoologiaUniversidade Estadual de CampinasCampinasBrazil
  2. 2.Instituto Laje VivaSão PauloBrazil
  3. 3.Explorer Dive CenterSão PauloBrazil

Personalised recommendations