Animals with odd hues have always piqued my interest, but while albinism and melanism can be found in a variety of species, the same cannot be true for pink-colored animals. Nonetheless, after a lucky photographer accidently saw the world’s only pink manta ray, this incredibly elite club has just grown in size.
It’s now a manta ray with pink skin, which has never been seen before, after dolphins and an adorable elephant calf. The first sighting of this unusual manta ray was in 2015 off the coast of Australia, and it has only been observed a few times since then. Kristian Laine, a wildlife photographer, recently captured a glimpse of the incredible underwater monster.
The pink manta ray, which is about 11 feet long, resides in the Great Barrier Reef seas off Lady Elliot Island. The Project Manta study team has been keeping a careful eye on the marine creature since his discovery. The scientists gave him the name Inspector Clouseau, after the renowned character from The Pink Panther, and he recently went viral owing to Laine’s amazing images.
When the Australian photographer first met Inspector Clouseau, he assumed her camera had broken. The manta’s unusual color, on the other hand, turned out to be genuine. “I had no idea there were pink mantas in the world,” the photographer told National Geographic. “I was baffled and believed my strobes were faulty or doing something unusual.”
The cause of Inspector Clouseau’s pink complexion is unknown, although specialists suspect it is erythrism, an extremely unusual ailment. Similarly to albinism and melanism, erythrism results in a loss of natural pigmentation, but instead of being white or black, the pigmentation is a vibrant pink.
Manta rays are usually black, but they can also be white or a mix of the two colors, making a pink manta ray one-of-a-kind!