For UNdertheC’s first “Photography Friday” I’d like to highlight the beautiful and mysterious manta ray that was featured in a recent TED talk available here.
Manta rays are gentle giants of the ocean. Mantas can grow to have 23 ft wingspans and weigh up to 4,440 lbs! Although it is a common misconception, they do not sting. Although, they can use their tails as a warning system for attacks by sharks or Orcas, the manta’s main predators. Manta rays themselves are not dangerous predators. They may look a little scary due to their huge size and strange shape, but these animals are filter feeders. They are beautiful creatures that gracefully glide and dance through the water. Unfortunately, mantas are being hunted by humans for their gills and can also become easily tangled within fishing nets and lines. Mantas are now listed as “Vulnerable” by IUCN.
To learn more about manta rays, check out Manta Trust.