Oddly colored animals have always been a sight to behold, but although albinism and melanism could be seen in so many species, not the same can be said about pink colored animals. Nonetheless, this extremely exclusivist club just got bigger, after one lucky photographer accidentally spotted the only pink manta ray in the world.
After dolphins and an adorable elephant calf, now it is a manta ray that’s startling everyone with its never-seen-before pink skin color. Initially spotted in 2015, off Australian coast, this unique manta ray has only been spotted on a very few occasions, and recently wildlife photographer Kristian Laine managed to capture a glimpse of the amazing underwater creature.
Nearly 11ft long, the pink manta ray lives in the Lady Elliot Island’s waters, in the Great Barrier Reef. Since he was discovered, the marine creature was carefully supervized by the Project Manta research group. The scientists named him Inspector Clouseau after the famous character from The Pink Panther, and he recently went viral thanks to Laine’s amazing photos.
When the Australia-based photographer initially came upon Inspector Clouseau, he thought her camera might be broken, or so. But the manta’s unexpected color proved to be nothing but real. “I had no idea there were pink mantas in the world, so I was confused and thought my strobes were broken or doing something weird,” the photographer explained to National Geographic.
It isn’t clear what causes Inspector Clouseau’s pink color, but the researches believe it might be a very rare condition known as erythrism. Just like albinism, or melanism, erythrism also leads to a lack of natural pigmentation, but if in the first two situations the pigmentation goes white or black, this time it is a vibrating pink.
Manta rays are usually black, but there are situation they can be white, or even a combination of the two, so a pink manta ray is definitely unique!
For more of Laines’ beautiful work, you can follow him on Instagram!