Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Do Guam mantas plan moon parties? Mantas congregate when surgeonfish spawn

Date:
February 18, 2014
Source:
University of Guam
Summary:
Guam mantas have been documented eating fish spawn. Researchers heard of mantas congregating purposefully in an area where surgeonfish were spawning.

This shows Guam mantas (Manta alfredi) congregating to feed on fish spawn.
Credit: Julie Hartup

A UOG Master of Biology candidate Julie Hartup has been studying Guam's Manta alfredi for eight years and is the first to document a very interesting behavior, mantas eating fish spawn. Several of Hartup's paddler and free diving friends told her about seeing mantas congregating purposefully in an area where surgeonfish were spawning. Since they were able to give her an exact date, Julie was able to calculate the moon phase, which is important as many fish synchronize their spawning with the moon. Using this information she predicted when the spawning event would occur that upcoming year and was there to witness a shoal of spawning surgeonfish accompanied by a fever of mantas.

Hartup's research findings not only highlight important information about mantas, but also reveal predictable spawning aggregations (SPAGs) for three important reef dwellers: Acanthurus triostegus, Acanthurus gutattus, Acanthurus lineatus. These surgeonfish react to the presence of mantas by trying to evade them.

As is often the case with basic research, many more questions evolve out of finding a few answers. "The mantas come in patterns. Are they herding the spawning fish? Is there cooperative behavior? How do the mantas know to come? Mantas are thought to be singular except for feeding or visiting cleaning station. Are they really singular or more social than we know? These are some of the questions I really want to investigate," says Hartup.

What science does know about mantas is that they live 40 to 50 years and are late to mature. They usually have only 1 pup every 2 to 5 years, which takes 13 months to develop and comes out rolled up like a burrito. There is no parental care, so the pups navigate life without motherly guidance. No one knows where mantas have their young.

"I believe mantas must have a remarkable sensory system. Their cerebellum and frontal lobes are quite large so they are naturally curious and will check out humans in their vicinity," explains Hartup. Through direct observation, photographs and videos she has documented 41 individuals on Guam, but there is a massive lack of information about the lives of mantas in Micronesia.

In 2008 the Yap state government passed Law No. 7-36 which designates " . . . all the internal and territorial waters of the State of Yap are hereby established as an official sanctuary for manta rays." Hartup's research has been tapped by the Yap government to develop an effective management plan for the protection of the mantas in Yap. She has been collecting data on Yap's mantas for several years: "By understanding the lives of Micronesia's mantas, we'll know where to start protecting them." Hartup wants to document them before they are lost to the threats of human encroachment or habitat degradation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Guam. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Guam. "Do Guam mantas plan moon parties? Mantas congregate when surgeonfish spawn." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140218101302.htm>.
University of Guam. (2014, February 18). Do Guam mantas plan moon parties? Mantas congregate when surgeonfish spawn. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140218101302.htm
University of Guam. "Do Guam mantas plan moon parties? Mantas congregate when surgeonfish spawn." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140218101302.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A U.S. doctor has tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus, as the worst-ever outbreak continues to grow. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The New York Times has officially endorsed the legalization of marijuana, but why now, and to what end? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins