Rare pink manta ray spotted by photographer at Great Barrier Reef

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Photos of a pink manta ray seen at the Great Barrier Reef were shared in January by photographer, Kristian Laine, and have gone viral.

Named Inspector Clouseau, after the character in Pink Panther

According to National Geographic, the pink male manta ray, which is over 3 metres long, is seen near Lady Elliot Island, which is part of the Great Barrier Reef.

In a Facebook post by Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, the pink manta ray was captured on video.

Pink colouration might be due to mutation

The pink colour of the manta ray is not common and has left scientists puzzled since the first sighting in 2015.

According to a post by an Australian government agency, CSIRO explained that it is a rare sighting to see the pink manta ray.

They explained why the manta ray was pink:

“It was first spotted in 2015 by dive instructor Ryan Jeffery and initially perplexed scientists, who believed its pink belly may have been from a skin infection.

The University of Queensland’s Project Manta, which is studying the animal, says “the colouration is just an unusual and unique expression of the skin’s melanin”.”

According to a scientist from Nicholls State University, Solomon David, who spoke to National Geographic, this condition is caused by a mutation, which causes the condition erythrism.

David explained that erythrism, causes an animal’s skin pigmentation to be reddish, or sometimes, pink.

Another well-known example of a genetic mutation is albinism, which can make an animal albino and cause white skin pigmentation.

Top photo by Kristian Laine

Share this story: About Sumita Thiagarajan

Sumita dreams of a world where humans live in perfect harmony with animals, including rats, pigeons and cockroaches. If you’re bored, you can always ask Sumita to tell you cool facts about our native snakes, or bomb-sniffing hero rats.

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