Ningaloo is visited by both species, the most common coastal manta ray which is the focus of tourism at Ningaloo, can reach a wingspan of nearly 4.5m and is resident to the reef whilst the larger more elusive and highly seasonal oceanic manta ray has been reported to attain sizes in excess of 7m.
The coastal Manta ray is seen along the entire length of Ningaloo Reef, but from Coral Bay can be seen year round within a large semi enclosed embayment known as Bateman Bay
The unique oceanography of Bateman Bay collects food and provides appropriate habitat and access for manta rays throughout the year.
Manta rays visit this bay for three main reasons including to feed, to be cleaned of parasites and dead skin by wrasse at places known as cleaning stations, and to seek mating opportunities.
Manta ray visitation although year round at Ningaloo does appear to be linked to the seasons, with large numbers of new and seldom seen animals appearing when food abundance is high and fewer numbers of commonly seen animals present when their food is less abundant.
Manta rays are planktivorous, feeding almost exclusively on planktonic crustaceans, such as crab larvae and copepods.
The conditions within this bay allow us to interact with mantas in shallow,clear, safe water, making it perfect for snorkelling, without the need to be dive certified.