The sea is a serene and dangerous place and there are many animals in the ocean that are mysterious. This leaves us with an uncertainty and curiosity of the ocean. There are most likely animals in the ocean that we haven’t even seen yet. That being said, the number of different creatures residing in the ocean offer us a lot of options to find our “spirit animal” or a creature that represents the kind of person we are and the kind of animal we want tattooed on our body for many years going forward.
Some of the more popular ocean animals that get tattooed are sharks, killer whales, sea turtles and random fish, but the manta ray is an animal that is picking up steam in terms of being tattooed these days. This is no surprise as the manta ray has a great deal of symbolism and looks great.
In this post we are going to talk about what makes the manta ray such a symbolic animal and why so many people choose to have the manta ray enshrined on their bodies. We will also talk about some of the different ways the manta ray is portrayed in tattoos. We will also discuss the meanings behind some of these variations and if there is a different symbolism behind the image based on how it is inked. You should feel very informed about the subject of manta ray tattoos by the time you are done reading this.
About Manta Rays
The manta ray is a fascinating animal and it has a striking look with its enormous size and coloration. These beautiful and calm creatures can grow to over 20 feet across and grow to be up to a whopping 3,000 pounds. Unlike other rays, the manta ray doesn’t have the spine on its tail to defend itself against predators.
You can find manta rays in almost any waters in the world that are tropical or at least mildly warm. The eat by filtering the water they are swimming in to find the smallest prey in the water. They are able to do this by using their cephalic fins to push the water in their mouths. Outside of these simple facts, there isn’t a great deal known about the manta ray in terms of ecology or their history but it is widely thought that they can live to up to 20 years at least.
Their name comes from the Spanish work for ‘cloak’. Therefore, the term ‘manta’ describes their large body that could be taken for a cloak or a large blanket. They are really big and this is one of their defenses as they don’t have the spine in their tails like their other family members. In addition, they have very large brains in comparison to their body and to other rays and sharks.
True manta rays first appeared around 4.8 million years ago as it is the first fossil that appeared. They also evolved from the original sting rays.
Giant manta rays take a big journey in their lives crossing a big part of the ocean and sometimes stopping in French Polynesia and Hawaii. You can usually find them in the Eastern Pacific. If you didn’t spot them because of their size, you might identify them from their blotches and spots on their stomachs. This helps scientists when they are trying to get a population count.
Manta Ray Tattoo Meaning
The manta ray tattoo is very meaningful and for that aren’t aware, you might be surprised. One manta ray tattoo meaning is to stay the course and be true to ourselves. Because the manta ray is able to navigate the ocean and the different depths, it is a reminder that we will get to our destination if we just keep moving forward. Some cultures believe that water is a symbol of our emotions and for the manta ray to be able to move through these waters unphased is a representation of our ability to observe and be aware of our emotions and go through life with a calm that is representative of the manta ray.
The manta ray tattoo is symbolic of getting what we want in life by directing our energy into the proper avenues. Because the manta ray uses its large body to round up plankton and direct them to swim in their mouths, we can take this as a symbol of them using their energy wisely and for purpose.
The manta ray tattoo can also remind us to keep our calm and not let our emotions get the best of us. The serenity of the manta ray is something to behold and if we can see the manta ray tattoo on our body, we might be able to keep reminding ourselves to stay calm and move forward.
Manta Ray Tattoo Variations
Below are a few examples of the manta ray tattoo and what they symbolize. There are many other variations of this tattoo but the ones we will talk about are some of the more common ways that people get the manta ray tattoo.
Tribal Manta Ray Tattoo
The tribal manta ray tattoo is a very symbolic image to islanders. Manta rays live in Polynesian waters in addition to other tropical waters. The indigenous people of Polynesia thought the manta ray was a symbol of wisdom and graceful strength. They saw the manta ray as a spirit guardian so to have the tribal manta ray tattoo was a way to protect your spirit and help you conjure these traits.
Watercolor Manta Ray Tattoo
The watercolor manta ray tattoo is a way to portray a certain serenity that it had when watching the manta ray navigate the ocean. This style just flows and is perfect when talking about ocean dwelling animals. The whimsical way the watercolor style of tattooing represents the manta ray can give us daily reminders to stay calm and work towards our goals in an efficient matter.
Realistic Manta Ray Tattoo
The realistic manta ray tattoo isn’t necessarily a different meaning from other manta ray tattoos but it just happens to look great. When a talented realism tattoo artist nails one of these tattoos, you might find yourself getting lost in the details. It might even bring a calmness to you.