Reef manta rays, social butterflies of the sea
September 20, 2019 10:11 AM   Subscribe

Although many sharks are solitary creatures, their manta ray relatives are surprisingly social (American Association for the Advancement of Science): They copy one another’s movements, play together, and will even curiously approach nearby humans. Now, scientists have discovered they also form “friendships” with their fellow rays (National Geographic)—loose associations that can last for weeks or months at a time. [...] Females were more likely to form lasting associations with each other than males, who tended to avoid other males, the researchers report [...] in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology (abstract only on Springer, article paywalled)
posted by filthy light thief (5 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
The rays showed a strong preference for certain spots, with females generally spending more time at cleaning stations and males typically spending more time in the feeding areas.

Somewhere in some manta ray comedy club a manta ray stand-up comic is riffing on this and absolutely killing it.
posted by ejs at 10:29 AM on September 20, 2019 [9 favorites]

I love rays / I love rays / I could pet a ray for days / rays rays rays
posted by grumpybear69 at 11:05 AM on September 20, 2019 [4 favorites]

posted by Pastor of Muppets at 11:41 AM on September 20, 2019

After taking my son to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and watching him at the bat ray pool I can totally see this. The creatures swam back and forth and let the humans touch them all day. They seemed to get attached to particular humans, and one ray kept flipping a fin and splashing a little girl.
posted by technodelic at 3:44 PM on September 20, 2019 [4 favorites]

It's easy to see where they get it.
posted by sneebler at 6:44 PM on September 20, 2019

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