This video of a Reef Manta Ray was taken by Aqua-Firma Marine Scientist, Charlotte Caffrey, on one of our Manta Ray Research, Coral Triangle & Dragons trips to Komodo in Indonesia. Much to the delight of Jim, the diver you can see, this ray decided to 'fly' over his head and then swim extremely close to Charlotte as she filmed all of the action with a super wide-angle lens.
All of the manta rays we see in Komodo are Reef Mantas (species Mobula alfredi). These can reach more than 5m wing tip to wing tip; and in Komodo our research partners, the Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF), have identified more than 1,000 individuals. Each manta ray has an individual pattern of markings on their bellies, from which we can ascertain if a manta ray has been seen before. This 'manta matching' used to be conducted entirely manually, so it was very time consuming. Nowadays, Manta Matcher software can make comparisons of digital images for us, so that we can at least get close to a match. Trained volunteers can then determine if a match has been achieved, or if the manta in question is a new one for the database.
In addition to manta rays, each day we dive and snorkel over some truly World-class coral reefs. Komodo lies within the Asian Coral Triangle where our planet's great diversity of corals and coral reef fish can be found.
Our next expedition, suitable for snorkellers and divers alike, will be 25th Oct - 3rd Nov, 2020; hosted once again by Aqua-Firma Marine Scientist, Charlotte Caffrey and researchers from MMF.
For further information about manta rays and the best places to see them click on the Manta Rays button to the left.
Photographs by Charlotte Caffrey & Ralph Pannell