Manta seen from Johnson Sea Link •

A Manta seen from Johnson Sea Link  submersible while it explores the Monitor wreck.

Also the Manta rays have short whiplike tails provided, in some species, with one or more stinging spines.

The Manta are filter feeders and eat large quantities of zooplankton, which they gather with their open mouths as they swim. Gestation lasts over a year, and mantas give birth to live pups. Mantas may visit cleaning stations for the removal of parasites.  Therefore like whales, they breach for unknown reasons.
Both species are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Anthropogenic threats include pollution, entanglement in fishing nets, and direct harvesting for their gill rakers for use in Chinese medicine. Their slow reproductive rate exacerbates these threats. They are protected in international waters by the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals, but are more vulnerable closer to shore. Areas where mantas congregate are popular with tourists. Only a few public aquariums are large enough to house them.

Monitor Expedition: June 24 – late 2002

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