Unexpectedly social manta rays swim in friendly circles

Report by Robert Kokenyesi, Ceramic Artist, Beachfront Pottery, Godfrey, IL 62035, USA

On most images and video footage the manta rays appear to be solitary animals gliding gracefully in the great depths of the oceans.  Video obtained by drones reveal a lot more social interaction between manta rays.  Perhaps the mantas need to feel outside of the zone of people before they display regular behaviors.

The video footage was narrated in the National Geographic magazine.

Manta Ray ‘Brunch’: Like Us, They’re Social Eaters

Aerial footage captured a unique view of reef manta rays feeding together off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii.

The video narration provides a brief explanation for the swimming activity.  Manta rays have to swim constantly to drive water through the gill filters.  The water brings plankton, small shrimp and small fish to the filter, and that’s how manta rays feed themselves.  By forming a circle the manta rays keep the swarm of shrimp and fish in the middle, so the prey doesn’t escape.  The leading manta is in the best position to feed, and the leading position is rotated among the manta rays in the circle.

Several of my ceramic pieces have been inspired by the graceful swimming of the manta rays.

“Mystic Stingray” bowl by Robert Kokenyesi
“Mystic Stingray” bowl by Robert Kokenyesi








These are two versions of the abstract bowls that reflect the graceful swimming of the manta ray.



“Manta Ray” platter by Robert Kokenyesi
“Manta Ray” platter by Robert Kokenyesi









These two versions of the platters show pairs of manta rays.



“Manta Ray” tile by Robert Kokenyesi
“Manta Ray” plate by Robert Kokenyesi









The manta rays look very attractive decorations for tiles and small plates as well.


“Ancient Manta, I” by Robert Kokenyesi, Godfrey, IL


This is the latest interpretation of the manta ray.  This sculpture form early 2017 attempts to capture the essence of manta rays.  Since the mantas have been around for over 300 million years, there must be essential features that allows them to survive.  I believe that grace, persistence, and oneness with the oceans are those essential features.



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