Rays of Pink

The oceans and seas remain one of the most mysterious realms on Earth.  We still know more about the surface of our moon – and perhaps the surface of Mars – than what all lies beneath the world’s deepest waters.

Recently Australian photographer Kristian Laine took pictures of a truly remarkable submarine creature: the world’s only documented pink manta ray.  Spanning about 11 feet and nicknamed Inspector Clouseau, after The Pink Panther, the animal lives near Lady Elliot Island, which is part of the Great Barrier Reef.

“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,” Laine told National Geographic.

Project Manta, established to study and preserve the creatures within Australian waters, discovered Clouseau in 2015.  Organization officials were able to conduct a skin biopsy on the animal and determine its unique coloration is not due to disease or its diet; rather, it’s the result of a genetic mutation called erythrism, which causes reddening in melanin expressions.  Most manta rays are black, white, or a combination of the two.

This is individual, however, is unbelievably astounding and proves just how fascinating our own planet really is!

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