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!
These are just a handful of the 25 new coral reef fish species discovered in recent years in the South China and Andaman Seas. Scientists don’t consider any of these newly-identified fish endangered. They’re all profiled in the book Reef Fishes of the East Indies, published last month by the University of Hawaii Press. All photographs from National Geographic.
Fairy Basslet (Pseudanthias mica) – Photograph courtesy Gerald Allen, Conservation International
Tripod Fish (Pteropsaron longipinnis) – Photograph courtesy Gerald Allen, Conservation International
Clingfish (Aspasmichthys alorensis) – Photograph courtesy Gerald Allen, Conservation International
A school of anthias fish feeds over a reef in Indonesia’s Komodo National Marine Park in the Coral Triangle – Photograph by Mauricio Handler, National Geographic
Candy Striper (Lepidichthys akiko) – Photograph courtesy Gerald Allen, Conservation International
Fairy Goby (Tryssogobius sarah) – Photograph courtesy Gerald Allen, Conservation International
Scorpionfish (Pteroidichthys amboinensis) – Photograph courtesy Roger Steene, Conservation International
Giant Frogfish (Antennarius commersoni) – Photograph courtesy Roger Steene, Conservation International
Dwarf Goby (Eviota rubriceps) – Photograph courtesy Gerald Allen, Conservation International
A cloud-to-ground lightning strike severs the sky near Los Lunas, New México. Tim Samaras and his crew chased the slow-moving storm cell until they ran out of road, and now can only watch as it moves on. Photograph by Carsten Peter, National Geographic.
The skeleton of a young Christian noblewoman, who was laid to rest on a “burial bed” some 1,400 years ago, is giving archaeologists precious clues to the earliest days of the English church. Photograph courtesy University of Cambridge.
A man stands beside peat that was dredged from a bog in Ireland and will be cut into bricks and stacked to dry before burning. Using peat as fuel is one way Ireland is helping to reduce greenhouse gases. Photo by Rambling Traveler/Flickr, National Geographic
A tiger peers at a camera trap it triggered during a morning hunt in the forests of northern Sumatra, Indonesia. Photograph by Steve Winter for National Geographic and the Panthera Partners wild cat conservation group.
Northern lights accentuated by last week’s solar storms, as viewed from the Space Station. Photo courtesy National Geographic.