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Judi Lynn

(160,979 posts)
Tue Nov 15, 2022, 01:17 AM Nov 2022

Largest known manta ray population is thriving off the coast of Ecuador, new research shows

NOVEMBER 14, 2022

by Michelle Klampe, Oregon State University

A manta ray near Isla de la Plata off the coast of Ecuador. Credit: Fundacion Megafauna Marina del Ecuador

Scientists have identified off the coast of Ecuador a distinct population of oceanic manta rays that is more than 10 times larger than any other known subpopulation of the species.

The findings, just reported in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series, indicate that while other populations of oceanic manta rays are typically small and vulnerable to human impacts, this population is large and potentially quite healthy, said Joshua Stewart, an assistant professor with the Marine Mammal Institute in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences and a co-author of the paper.

"It's clear that something different is happening here," Stewart said. "This is a rare story of ocean optimism. In other regions, we typically have population estimates of 1,000 to 2,000 animals, which makes this species very vulnerable. In this area, we've estimated that the population is more than 22,000 mantas, which is unprecedented."

Oceanic manta rays are the largest species of ray, with wingspans that can reach more than 20 feet. They are filter feeders that eat large quantities of krill and other zooplankton and tend to live in small subpopulations in tropical, subtropical and temperate waters, spending much of their time in the open ocean.

Oceanic manta rays were listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in 2018, and in 2019 their threat category increased from vulnerable to endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List. The biggest threat to oceanic manta rays is commercial fishing, both as the target of some fisheries and as unintentional bycatch in many others.


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Largest known manta ray population is thriving off the coast of Ecuador, new research shows (Original Post) Judi Lynn Nov 2022 OP
Cayman Islands August 1973... ProudMNDemocrat Nov 2022 #1
What a surprise! It would overwhelm someone. Wow. Judi Lynn Nov 2022 #2
Video of 4 mantas feeding RainCaster Nov 2022 #3
OMG! Happy, happy mantas! They even swim right next to the camera & upside down Judi Lynn Nov 2022 #4


(17,244 posts)
1. Cayman Islands August 1973...
Tue Nov 15, 2022, 01:24 AM
Nov 2022

While diving there, I saw a magnificent lone Manta Ray. My heart skipped a few beats as I managed to get my breathing under control. They are a sight to see.

Judi Lynn

(160,979 posts)
2. What a surprise! It would overwhelm someone. Wow.
Tue Nov 15, 2022, 01:58 AM
Nov 2022

Last edited Tue Nov 15, 2022, 08:13 AM - Edit history (1)

Here's a link to a 24 hour underwater webcam at Harbor Village on Bonaire, just off the coast of Venezuela, it's dark now, but you can move the bottom of the screen button all the way back to the left to start at any point in the last 12 hours. There are divers who operate the camera most of the time, and divers who chat there. They get rays of various kinds, the smaller ones, who cruise around raking the sand looking for treats sometimes, and wonderful other critters, including sea turtles. Sometimes the camera is out due to storms or power outages, but can be relocated by checking YouTube search for Harbour Village Bonaire Coral Reef livecam, live when it comes back.

(On edit, hours later. I forgot to add the link!)

Have learned by watching that live cam, reading the comments, that divers absolutely love diving. Even my dentist is a diver, and when I had a tooth canal, that oral surgeon was a diver, too!

I envy your experiences!

There's nothing like Manta Rays, no doubt about it!

Thanks, ProudMNDemocrat.

Judi Lynn

(160,979 posts)
4. OMG! Happy, happy mantas! They even swim right next to the camera & upside down
Tue Nov 15, 2022, 04:21 AM
Nov 2022

to eat the yummy plankton! Clearly they trust the humans totally!

Absolutely delightful, and the trust they have in the divers brings tears to ones eyes. If only human beings all deserved it!

Thank you, RainCaster. That was magical. ⭐️

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