Manta Ray

Photograph by Michel Braunstein, My Shot

Each year lunar tides and Indian Ocean monsoon currents combine to drive plankton and tropical krill into confined bays around the islands of the Maldives. These protein-packed waters invite large concentrations of manta rays to an all-you-can-eat buffet. Despite their large size, with wingspans stretching up to 12 feet (3.6 meters), as many as 200 mantas may pack a football field-sized bay during these feeding frenzies.