New Photos Show The World's Only Known Pink Manta Ray
Sun, April 18, 2021

New Photos Show The World's Only Known Pink Manta Ray

 

2015 was when the pink manta ray as first spotted. Following that, the pink manta ray, dubbed Inspector Clouseau after the detective from the “Pink Panther” series, was only seen a few times around Australia’s vast Great Barrier Reef. Thus, photographer Kristia Laine was extremely lucky to bump into the world’s only pink manta ray while she was freediving near Lady Elliot Island.

 

Photo Credits: @kristianlainephotography on Instagram via Unilad

 

In her Instagram post, Laine shared the stunning photos of the pink manta ray. According to Unilad, a British Internet media company and website owned by LADbible Group that provides social news and entertainment, the huge ray has a wingspan close to seven meters wide and weighs nearly two tons. It was seen with several other male manta rays, which are all black, all white, or black and white, courting a female. The captured presence of this very rare marine animal has caused quite a stir as scientists try to establish what causes the distinct coloration.

 

Photo Credits: @kristianlainephotography on Instagram via Unilad

 

At first, biologists at Australia’s Project Manta suspected that the pink manta ray got its color from a skin infection or a strange meal, like how pink flamingos get their rosy feathers from eating algae filled with a compound that contains a reddish-orange pigment called beta carotene. Luckily, scientists were able to collect a small skin biopsy from the pink manta ray in 2016. Asia Haines, a research assistant at Project Manta, stated that the ray likely has a genetic mutation.

“I have read multiple different answers, they have analyzed a sample of his skin and they have changed their theories many times and still don’t seem to know for sure. I think the latest theory is that it’s some sort of a genetic mutation causing a pink of melanin to be expressed,” Lalaine added. 

 

Photo Credits: @kristianlainephotography on Instagram via Unilad

 

According to Live Science, a science news website that features groundbreaking developments in science, space, technology, health, the environment, our culture and history, Solomon David, an aquatic ecologist at Louisiana's Nicholls State University, stated that the manta ray might have erythrism, a condition that causes animals to have a high amount of red pigment in their bodies. Other animals such as bubble-gum-pink grasshoppers and strawberry-blonde leopards have this condition as well.

 

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