World's oldest manta ray and other conservation news this month
Scuba Diving in The Maldives
17 October, 2022
This reef manta ray named Taurus might just be the oldest manta ray in the world! He is still commonly sighted around Lady Elliot Island in Australia and is thought to be around 50 years old! Taurus was first photographed by Peter Allen 40 years ago in 1982! Back then Taurus was likely at least 10 years old as he was already an adult.
EARTH JOURNALISM NETWORK
Manta Trust researcher Joanna Harris worked alongside Heather Koldewey and Asha de Vos and trained Earth Journalism Network journalists in all aspects of marine science. The event was an incredible success thanks to the Bertarelli Foundation, the Four Seasons Resorts Maldives Manta Trust team, all the scientists involved, and the amazing group of journalists that came from all over the Indian Ocean region.
FIJI OCEANIC MANTAS
Congratulations to Manta Project Fiji on its first published research: First photographic evidence of oceanic manta rays (Mobula birostris) at two locations in the Fiji islands. Read the open access paper here.Fiji Liveaboards
RED SEA MANTA PAPER
Did you know that the Red Sea supports a population of oceanic manta rays?
Using crowd-sourced data, manta ray researchers obtained 395 sightings of 297 individuals! Here are some stand-out findings from the study:
- The highest proportion of individuals seen was juvenile, suggesting potential nursery grounds
- The longest time between sightings for an individual was 12 years
- The longest movement for a manta ray was 700km
- 25% of individuals were spotted more than once
MOBULA CONSERVATION IMPACT
Mobula Conservation Project was founded only two years ago, but they've already achieved an impressive amount. Check out their impact report to learn about their achievements in genetics work, acoustic tagging studies on devil rays, working with industrial and small scale fisheries in the eastern Pacific, and their peer-reviewed publications.Read their report here
A number of Manta Trust affiliate project staff were invited to speak at the Ocean20 event in Indonesia. The event, spearheaded by Indonesia, is a working group initiative focusing on ocean conservation and sustainable tourism and was established as part of the G20 summit to be held later this year.Indonesia Liveaboards
Did you know?
Manta rays do actually have teeth! As they are planktonic filter feeders, you may assume that they don't have teeth, but that is actually incorrect. Reef manta rays have a band of teeth on the lower jaw (like in the image) and oceanic manta rays have a set on both top and bottom jaws. The teeth are not used for hunting or defence, but they do leave markings when a male manta ray clamps down on the left pectoral fin of a female during reproduction.Maldives Liveaboards
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