Incredible Photos Showing The World’s Only Pink Manta Ray
We’ve seen all kinds of white and black versions of animals, but what about pink? Introducing the pink manta ray. Images were captured by photographer Kristian Laine who was lucky enough to get a look at the one-of-a-kind animal.
“I had no idea there were pink mantas in the world, so I was confused and thought my strobes were broken or doing something weird,” he said. Located in Australias Great Barrier Reef, the male manta reaches about eleven feet in length. Nicknamed Inspector Clouseau, after The Pink Panther, this creature’s color is not due to ɪʟʟɴᴇss or diet, but instead a ɢᴇɴᴇᴛɪᴄ ᴍᴜᴛᴀᴛɪᴏɴ that expresses melanin differently. It causes the pigmentation to express as red or pink and has never been seen before on manta rays. To put things into perspective, manta rays are typically either all black, all white, or black with a white belly. While these types of ɢᴇɴᴇᴛɪᴄ ᴍᴜᴛᴀᴛɪᴏɴs can sometimes cause animals to be more ᴠᴜʟɴᴇʀᴀʙʟᴇ to ᴘʀᴇᴅᴀᴛᴏʀs, experts believe that Inspector Clouseau isn’t having any issues due to his sheer size. As the largest of all rays, adults can weigh up to nearly 3,000 pounds, so understandably he doesn’t have too much ᴛʀᴏᴜʙʟᴇ fending for himself. Though he may not know it, Inspector Clouseau has now become an online celebrity for his unique coloration. For Laine, the experience is once in a lifetime and has made him one of just a handful of people to experience the pink manta ray’s beauty in real life. “I feel humbled and extremely lucky,” Laine told National Geographic.
Whatever the reason Clouseau is the dusty rose shade he is, Laine is just glad to be one of the few who’ve seen him up close. “Overall,” he told sciencealert.com, “it was just very calm and let me be there. Later, when I realized what I had witnessed I was sᴛᴏᴋᴇᴅ — I just couldn’t believe how ʀᴀʀᴇ a moment I had experienced.”