Giant manta rays are found worldwide in tropical, subtropical and temperate waters and are commonly seen offshore, in oceanic waters, and near productive coastlines.
Due to their broad range and sparse distribution across the world’s oceans, there are still gaps in scientists’ knowledge of giant manta ray’s life history. There are reports of giant mantas living to at least 40 years, but little is known about their growth and development.
The most significant threat to giant manta rays is commercial fishing, both being targeted and caught as bycatch. Although conservation measures have been adapted in many places, demand for manta and other mobula rays’ gill rakers has increased dramatically in Asian markets. Fortunately, their interest to SCUBA divers and other tourism operations makes them more valuable alive than to fishers. This development may afford the giant manta more protection, but their value as meat and for traditional medicinal purposes continue to pose a risk to this species.