Send to

Choose Destination
Sci Adv. 2018 Sep 26;4(9):eaat9533. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aat9533. eCollection 2018 Sep.

Manta rays feed using ricochet separation, a novel nonclogging filtration mechanism.

Author information

California State University, Fullerton, 800 North State College Boulevard, Fullerton, CA 92867, USA.
Oregon State University, 3029 Cordley Hall, Corvallis, OR 97330, USA.


Solid-liquid filtration is a ubiquitous process found in industrial and biological systems. Although implementations vary widely, almost all filtration systems are based on a small set of fundamental separation mechanisms, including sieve, cross-flow, hydrosol, and cyclonic separation. Anatomical studies showed that manta rays have a highly specialized filter-feeding apparatus that does not resemble previously described filtration systems. We examined the fluid flow around the manta filter-feeding apparatus using a combination of physical modeling and computational fluid dynamics. Our results indicate that manta rays use a unique solid-fluid separation mechanism in which direct interception of particles with wing-like structures causes particles to "ricochet" away from the filter pores. This filtration mechanism separates particles smaller than the pore size, allows high flow rates, and resists clogging.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center