Scientists have received rare shots of manta rays, or sea devils, made by a drone near the coast of the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Despite the large size of these creatures (3.6 meters across), their unique social behavior has remained a mystery until now.
“When we began to use the technology of unmanned aerial vehicles, we noticed that in the absence of boats, Manta behaves much more naturally,” says Andrea Marshall, Director of the Marine Megafauna Foundation and researcher at National Geographic, who has studied the behavior of mantras for more than 15 years.
As Marshall explains, this circular movement is a social way of eating. The skates follow one another with a gaping mouth, and the one who swims ahead takes most of the plankton. As they move, they change places – so that everyone can visit the position of the leader.
“They seem to be closely related to each other. When manties spend time together, they are incredibly social, “the scientist notes, adding that these animals not only eat together but also play.
It is interesting that members of such groups are not necessarily relatives. As the analysis of their DNA has shown, they can be just friends who have grown together.