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02-14-2020 10:14 AM
An extremely rare pink manta ray called Inspector Clouseau has been photographed off the coast of an Australian Island.
The 11-foot male reef manta ray is the only pink specimen of his species known to exist and was first identified in 2015.
He got his name from the bumbling detective from the famed Pink Panther movie franchise.
His unique colouration is authentic but harmless and likely to be the result of a genetic mutation similar to albinism, experts believe.
The two-tonne marine beast lives around Lady Elliot Island and a series of stunning photographs were taken by a bemused Finnish photographer called Kristian Laine.
Clouseau is monitored by Project Manta, an Australian organisation, which attempts to learn how the bizarre colouration came to be.
Mr Laine said: 'I have read multiple different answers, they have analysed 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.'
Mr Laine's theory is in agreement with leading experts who say the most likely explanation is a phenomenon called erythrism.
Mr Laine posted pictures of Inspector Clouseau on his Instagram account.
He said: 'It is very rare because I think there has only been around eight to ten sightings since the first sighting in 2015.
'I felt amazed afterwards but also felt like when I was in its eye level I felt like he was smiling at me.
'He was big and I got into a touch range but obviously didn't touch, I was super close, about a metre at best.
'The whole encounter lasted for about 20 - 30 minutes and he was part of a mating manta train that was just circling around a cleaning station.'
02-14-2020 11:03 AM
Besides being amazed at his color, I'm also amazed at his size in the last picture, compared to the size of the 'regular' sized Manta's below him!
02-14-2020 11:25 AM
What a beautiful creature from the sea! I love nature, animals, sea life, mountains , oceans, lakes, all that is for us to appreciate and take care of and not harm. Sadly many do harm but I won't get into that.
Thanks for this article and picture of a pink Manta Ray, so interesting!
02-14-2020 12:40 PM
@IG : didn't see this thread before I also posted this gorgeous guy... he deserves extra attention anyway ;-)
02-14-2020 01:59 PM
@IG Thanks for this amazing share. Can hardly believe it is real....what a special privilege it would be to witness this extraordinary animal. Love being introduced to the wonders of nature
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