10/24/2014

Making a Meal From a Mouthful of Seawater

8:41 minutes

Some of the biggest animals swimming in the ocean are filter feeders, including whale sharks, grey whales, and manta rays. How can these large creatures sustain themselves on a mouthful of plankton? For the manta ray, biologist Misty Paig-Tran says the fish has developed a specialized filter that lets it pluck plankton and fish eggs from a mouthful of seawater without getting clogged. (Plus, check out a Munk’s devil ray breaching┬áin this piece of Sci Candy.)

Segment Guests

Misty Paig-Tran

Misty Paig-Tran is an assistant professor of biology at California State University, Fullerton in Fullerton, California.

Meet the Producer

About Alexa Lim

Alexa Lim is a producer for Science Friday. Her favorite stories involve space, sound, and strange animal discoveries.

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This small ray can breach several feet into the air, causing a loud slapping sound upon its return to the ocean that has earned it the nickname "tortilla."

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