Huge Manta Ray Spotted Near Oil Rig (Sharks For Scale)
The ocean is full of beautiful creatures. Big, small, short, or long, there's a bit of everything within the vast waters on planet Earth. While most animals are common sight, sharks, dolphins, tunas, etc, there's a few bottom-dwellers that aren't observed very often by human beings.
One such example would be the giant oceanic manta ray. Manta rays spent a lot of time scouring the ocean floor looking for food so are mainly seen by divers but the giant manta ray is a subspecies that is rarely seen by anyone, until now.
To make this occurrence even more special, the presence of a shark swimming next to it demonstrated the sheer size of the giant manta. Gob-smacked, the only reaction people had was to watch it and ensure no one attempted to harm or capture it.
The Giant Manta Ray
The giant oceanic manta ray (Mobula birostris) is the largest type of ray in the world, with a wing span of up to 29 feet. While they are mainly found in tropical and subtropical waters, they can also be found in temperate waters all over the world. Giant manta rays were originally classified in the Manta genus along with the smaller reef manta, until 2017 when DNA testing revealed that both species were more closely related to rays of the genus Mobula than previously thought. Giant mantas were consequently renamed 'Mobula birostris' to reflect the new classification.
These amazing creatures don't get enough recognition, probably because they're becoming increasingly rare. Their population numbers are drastically reducing every year with the main threat being commercial fishing. Their gill rakers are incredibly valuable and are traded internationally. For this reason, in 2018, the species was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, letting everyone know their population status.