The unique manta ray was first spotted in 2015 off Lady Elliot Island, near Bundaberg, in southern Queensland by dive instructor Ryan Jeffery.
When photographer Kristian Laine posted the incredible images of a beautiful underwater beastie on Instagram it instantly went viral. A manta ray named after Inspector Clouseau, the ill-fated detective from the Pink Panther movies, for its incredible and unusual pink-color, left Laine and every netizen in awe! Speaking about the moment went he first spotted the majestic creature, Laine said, "At first, I was very confused. When I went through my photos in my camera right after the encounter I was looking through my viewfinder and was thinking it’s weird that one of the mantas looks pink. It was in the middle of a manta train with seven other mantas."
The unique manta ray was first spotted in 2015 off Lady Elliot Island, near Bundaberg, in southern Queensland by dive instructor Ryan Jeffery, according to Australian Geographic. Now, mantas are typically white in color and when scientists first learned about this one with a pink-toned belly, they assumed that it was due to a skin infection. However, after studying the animal, The University of Queensland’s Project Manta, said, "the coloration is just an unusual and unique expression of the skin’s melanin."
Laine was one of few lucky ones who got the opportunity to encounter the unique animal near Lady Elliot Island, the southernmost island on the Great Barrier Reef. "I actually thought my strobes were playing up, making the manta look pink. That was until later that day, I saw on the board at Lady Elliot Island a photo of the pink manta. It felt amazing because I’d just witnessed it so close. Inspector Clouseau has been spotted less than 10 times since it was first seen in 2015," revealed the photographer according to the Metro.
During the latest encounter, the pink manta was seen surrounded by seven other males, all contesting for female attention. The distinctive color of the manta ray is said to be due to some sort of genetic mutation which affects the color of its melanin. Generally, Reef manta rays tend to be either black or white or a combination of the two. However, they are commonly found in the mixed configuration where they have a dark back to easily blend in with the gloomy water underneath and a relatively lighter underside which helps them mingle with the sunlight. You might think that Inspector Clouseau's unique skin tone might make him an easy target for predators. But that's not true as he's quite large. Apparently, adult rays can weigh more than a tonne and are surely not the creatures anyone should mess with.