When animals are different colors, they’ve always been interesting to look at. Albinism and melanism can be found in many species, but pink-colored animals aren’t the same way. Nonetheless, this very small group just got a little bigger after one lucky photographer happened to see the only pink manta ray in the world.
Following dolphins and a lovely elephant calf, a manta ray has stunned the world with its never-before-seen pink skin color. Initially discovered in 2015 off the coast of Australia, this rare manta ray has been sighted only a handful of times, and nature photographer Kristian Laine recently captured a glimpse of the incredible underwater creature.
The pink manta ray, which is over 11 feet long, is found in the waters off Lady Elliot Island, on the Great Barrier Reef. Since his discovery, the marine creature has been under the watchful eye of the Project Manta study organization. Inspector Clouseau was given his name by the scientists in honor of the renowned character from “The Pink Panther,” and he recently went viral as a result of Laine’s incredible photographs.
When the photographer from Australia first encountered Inspector Clouseau, he assumed her camera was faulty, or something along those lines. However, the manta’s surprising coloration was confirmed to be genuine. “Because I was unaware of the existence of pink mantas, I was perplexed and assumed my strobes were faulty or acting strangely,” the photographer revealed to National Geographic.
Although the reason for Inspector Clouseau’s pink color is unknown, researchers suspect it may be an extremely unusual disorder called erythrism. As with albinism or melanism, erythrism results in a loss of natural pigmentation. However, instead of white or black pigmentation, this time the pigmentation is a vibrating pink.
Manta rays are typically black, but in some circumstances they can be white or a combination of the two, making a pink manta ray quite distinctive!
To see more of Laines’ stunning work, follow him on Instagram!