Manta Trust

Manta Trust @mantatrust

As a charity, we co-ordinate global efforts to research & conserve mobulid rays & their habitats. Buy a limited edition t-shirt:
http://bit.ly/2sTs5PP

Photo by @beths_gone_diving Beth is caught in the curious gaze of one of the resident green sea turtles at Laamu Atoll, Maldives.⠀ ⠀ Like manta rays, sea turtles are extremely charismatic marine creatures that can immediately elevate an average dive to a truly magical experience. ⠀ ⠀ This handsome face belongs to Davina, one of two green sea turtles spotted regularly by the Laamu team on a specific coral bommie at Hithadoo Corner. Beth say they often appear to 'squabble' over the best place to rest, reminding her of her parents competing for the best sofa at home. So when she was offered the chance to name the two turtles Beth called one Cathy after her mum and the other David after her dad. Soon after it was discovered that both turtles were female and so David became Davina.⠀ ⠀ @sixsenseslaamu @oceandimensions #seaturtle #greenseaturtle #mantatrust #mantaray #maldives #coralreef #oceans #closeup #portrait #animalportrait #marinelife #closeencounters #scubadiving #diving #sixsenseslaamu #oceandimensions #parents
We are teaming up with @leonardodicapriofdn to protect our oceans! Want to help? Buy a limited edition t-shirt or sweater, only available through July 5th, via the link in our bio. All proceeds will benefit ocean conservation work including our Global Mobulid Conservation Programme (GMCP).⠀ ⠀ Manta rays and their smaller cousins mobula rays (or as we like to call them mini mantas) belong to the mobulid family. The GMCP, which was launched in 2014, has already greatly furthered our understanding of mobulids and has played a key role in improving the conservation status of these vulnerable rays. Over the next two years the primary goal of the GMCP is to reduce global fishing pressure on mobulid rays.⠀ ⠀ #mantarays #mobularays #minimantas #leonardodicaprio #leonardodicapriofoundation #oceanconservation #oceans #tshirts #ecofashion #maldives #beach #mantatrust #conservation #marineconservation
Video by @lisarandale An enchanting encounter with short-fin pygmy devil rays on Lhaviyani Atoll in the Maldives.⠀ ⠀ Forget flash mobs... flash mobulas are where it's at! Some great news this week from Lisa, one of our Project Managers in the Maldives, that mobula ray sightings are booming at the moment on Lhaviyani Atoll.⠀ ⠀ Many mobula rays are very shy in nature, but short-fin pygmy devil rays seem to be quite inquisitive, choosing to venture close at times to take a closer look at divers. These little mini-mantas reach a maximum of just over one meter in width and filter feed on plankton and small fish. Mobula rays have an extremely low reproduction rate, giving birth to a single pup at a time every two to three years; their gestation period is about a year. This of course leaves them vulnerable to exploitation as they simply cannot reproduce fast enough to keep up with commercial fishing.⠀ ⠀ If you have any pictures or videos of mobula rays in the Maldives, and you know the date and location in which they were taken please do send them in to us as they could help with ongoing research on sighting numbers and locations. @hurawalhi #LoveMiniMantas #flashmobula #flashmob #maldives #enchanting #magicalencounters #mobularays #devilrays #minimantas #diving #ocean #blue #closeencounters #mantatrust
Photo by Guy Stevens. Guy comes face to face with a rare and stunning black morph manta ray in Roca Partida, Mexico.⠀ ⠀ Most manta rays are of the chevron colour morph; mostly black on top with a white belly and black spots beneath. Rarer though, is the dramatic black morph manta. These ninja rays are completely black on top and mostly black beneath too with only a few white spots on their belly. There are black morphs of both oceanic and reef mantas but the 'black' gene is thought to be recessive as they only make up around 25-30% of the manta population where the gene is present.⠀ ⠀ In some populations, such as the mantas of the Maldives, this 'black' gene appears to be completely absent, with every one of the estimated 5,000 reef mantas in the population being a chevron morph. Whereas at the remote islands of Socorro and San Benedicto, west of Mexico, a higher percentage of these giant black mantas can be found than anywhere else in the world.⠀ ⠀ #blackmorphmanta #mantaray #blackmanta #stealthbomber #manta #ocean #oceangiants #gentlegiants #marine #black #underwaterphotography #deep #blue #mexico #closeup #mantamonday #monday #chevron
Photo by Guy Stevens. An oceanic manta ray ascends with its pectoral fins spread wide, dwarfing the scuba divers scattered around it. Fuvamullah Atoll, Maldives.⠀ ⠀ Here comes the weekend! Rising majestically from the depths like a giant friendly manta ray, ready to put a smile on everyone's face. It was only discovered as recently as 2008 that what we call a manta ray is actually two distinct species with unique behaviours and lifestyles: oceanic and reef mantas. ⠀ ⠀ Oceanics are the larger of the two species reaching dimensions of up to 7 meters from wing tip to wing tip and weighing as much as 2 tonnes! Both species live pelagic lives in the open ocean, visiting reefs to feed and be cleaned. However, oceanic mantas have the wider geographic range, occurring in tropical, sub-tropical and temperate waters.⠀ ⠀ #oceanicmantaray #mantaray #weekend #fridayfeeling #oceangiants #gentlegiants #maldives #underwaterphotography #ocean
Photo by @beths_gone_diving A handsome young male manta cruises past Beth's camera ready for his close up!⠀ ⠀ The team at Laamu Atoll have been working this week to process the nine new IDs collected after the discovery of a new cleaning station a fortnight ago.⠀ ⠀ Every manta encounter is different because, like us, individual manta rays respond differently in a situation. Some are shy and quickly leave or keep their distance when they encounter divers or snorkelers, whilst others are just as inquisitive as the humans watching them. There's nothing quite like that moment of connection when a curious manta ray circles closer and closer, taking you in fully and looking you straight in the eyes.⠀ ⠀ #laamuatoll #maldives #mantaray #closeup #oceans #closeencounters #magicalmoments @sixsenseslaamu @oceandimensions
Photo by Guy Stevens. The vibrant colours of a bustling tropical reef compliment the rich azure blue backdrop of the Arabian Sea. Raa Atoll, Maldives.⠀ ⠀ Coral reefs are truly magical ecosystems covering less than 0.1% of the ocean floor, yet supporting around 25% of marine life! Reefs begin when tiny coral polyps attach themselves to the sea floor and multiply by cloning themselves to form colonies. It's a slow process though, coral reefs can take hundreds to thousands of years to grow. Some reefs still around today began growing over 50 million years ago! Coral reefs provide food and shelter for all manner of ocean fauna from the tiniest shrimp to the largest manta ray. Reef ecosystems are vast, complex and of vital importance to the health of the oceans but they hang in a delicate balance. ⠀ ⠀ Coral reefs are extremely vulnerable to changes in temperature. So much so that scientists study coral reef fossils in order to learn more about prehistoric climate patterns.⠀ ⠀ #coralreefs #climatechange #oceans #worldoceansday #marinelife #coral #maldives #mantas #mantarays #mantatrust #raaatoll #arabiansea #indianocean
Photo by @beths_gone_diving . Olivia, a manta regularly sighted by the Laamu Atoll team, shows off her beautiful belly for the camera.⠀ ⠀ Over the last year the Manta Trust and @bluemarinefoundation (BLUE) have been working and diving together around the reefs of Laamu Atoll to learn more about manta rays and grouper aggregations. During a new moon grouper survey last week, the BLUE team stumbled across a beautiful manta cleaning station and upon hearing the news the Manta Trust team had their dive bags packed quicker than you can say ‘Maldivian Manta Ray Database’ and headed straight out to explore. There they discovered healthy corals, thousands of fish, manta rays piggy-back feeding and gained a whopping nine new manta IDs to process… not a bad days work! ⠀ ⠀ Look out for more updates coming soon from the Laamu team as they continue to investigate whether these mysterious mantas are long distance travellers or new individuals to the Maldivian Manta Ray Database.⠀ ⠀ #laamuatoll #maldivianmantarayproject #mantaray #mantatrust #bluemarinefoundation #oceandimensions #sixsenseslaamu @sixsenseslaamu @oceandimensions
Photo by Guy Stevens. An oceanic manta ray glides across the speckled blue like a friendly UFO in the waters of Peru.⠀ ⠀ Manta rays are fascinating and beautiful animals but dedicated research of them has only gained momentum in the last decade meaning there is still so much to learn! Mantas are cartilaginous fish, like their shark cousins and other rays, meaning that they have a skeleton made of cartilage rather than bone. This has often made the study of shark and ray ancestors challenging as it is rare to find fossils of anything more than teeth.⠀ ⠀ Sharks first appeared in the fossil record over 400 million years ago; That’s 300 million years before the dinosaurs and 50 million years before trees, give or take a few million years (because what’s a few million years between friends!). Jump forward to 170 million years ago and the first rays appeared in the oceans looking similar to modern guitarfish and skates, with flattened bodies adapted to life on the ocean floor. From these the Mobulidae Family evolved around 20 million years ago and mantas came... fashionably late... only 5 million years ago!⠀ ⠀ #oceanicmanta #peru #ufo #fashionablylate
Photo by Guy Stevens. A curious reef manta swoops in for a close up photo during a dive at Hanifaru Bay, Baa Atoll, Maldives. ⠀ ⠀ The Maldivian Manta Ray Project (MMRP) has gone from strength to strength, and over the last few years we have built an ever-growing network of marine biologists in our flagship project in the Maldives. With so many islands, reef systems and potential manta sites, we continue to expand our research bases and partnerships to enable us to monitor manta ray populations throughout the Maldives archipelago.⠀ ⠀ An exciting opportunity has arisen to join our team! The MMRP is currently looking to fill numerous project manager roles at different resorts in the Maldives. To find out more about the roles and how to apply visit the Volunteers & Careers page on our website.
Photo by @DannyUnderwater . A Chilean devil ray dances through cathedral rays in the blue waters around Santa Maria Island, the Azores.⠀ ⠀ It is widely recognised that mobulid species are directly threatened by fisheries as targeted and accidental catch. However commercial fishing and other human impacts could indirectly threaten mobulid populations by reducing the availability of their prey. So scientists and conservationists need a better understanding of exactly what mobulids are feeding on in order to better protect them. ⠀ ⠀ A new paper published this week outlines research into the diets of mobulid rays in the Bohol Sea with surprising results. Basically all of the mobulid species studied were eating the same thing (euphausiids), which is interesting given the vastly different body sizes, reported behaviour and habitat use between the species. Find the paper, written by Manta Trust Associate Director Josh Stewart in collaboration with scientists from the Marine Megafauna Foundation and the @lamaveproject via the link in our bio (and later on the Royal Society Open Science).⠀ ⠀ #mantarays #mobularays #mantatrust #santamaria #azores #ocean
Photo by Guy Stevens. A chain of reef mantas gliding gracefully overhead during a dive at Hanifaru Bay, Baa Atoll, Maldives. Just like us, manta rays love a good feed, so when plankton blooms are thick they have some impressive strategies for making the most of conditions. Sometimes they will form a feeding chain; swimming in line, head to tail, each ray positioned slightly higher than the one in front. It is believed that by doing this they can each catch the plankton that has tried to escape the path of the manta in front. A beautiful and mesmerising sight for us... a never-ending conveyor-belt of nightmares for tiny plankton! #planktonnightmares #mantaray #manta #feedingchain #maldives #hanifaru #mantatrust #ocean #oceangiants #filterfeeders
Photo by Guy Stevens. An oceanic manta (M. birostris) swoops in for a close-up during a dive at Southern Spur, Fuvahmulah Atoll, Maldives.⠀ ⠀ If you're lucky enough to see one of these giants in person, it'll be hard not to notice the brown remoras casually hitching a ride. But don't be fooled....these hitchhikers aren't as harmless as you might think.⠀ ⠀ As a manta, having multiple remoras latched all over you can really suck! They seriously reduce your swimming efficiency by creating extra drag in the water. They also leave some pretty nasty sores and abrasions on the manta's skin. All-in-all, these cheeky freeloaders can cause some serious discomfort for our flappy friends. ⠀ ⠀ #hitchhikersguidetomantas #remorassuck⠀#mantafact #mantaray #manta #remora #hitchhiker #parasite #blue #sharks #oceans #marinelife #education #conservation #research #marineconservation #scubadiving #Maldives #scuba #scars #skin #ouch
Check out this little guy! It's a Sargassum Frogfish which had been on researcher @tomburd's wish list for a while. However it wasn't a completely natural encounter as Tom and the team came across this beauty when pulling up a large pile of tangled fishing nets during their manta trip. Unfortunately this frogfish (and a group of little shrimps) were using the mass of ghost fishing gear as their home. A constant reminder of how much marine debris is floating around and how animals adapt to this unnatural material, often to their peril as the @oliveridleyproject often find out. #bucketlist #frogfish #research #conservation #Maldives #marinelitter #ghostnets #marinecleanup
You would be forgiven for thinking from our pictures that we are constantly surrounded by endless sunshine and cloudless skies... This was the view that greeted @lisarandale, one of our Maldives team this morning! Quite a dramatic change as the monsoon season starts to bring stronger winds and more clouds over the archipelago. But just look at the colours, it's still beautiful! #manta #mantaray #research #conservation #Maldives #stormiscoming #monsoon
Oh yes, May has arrived! In the UK we are starting to hear Cuckoos and see the darting Swifts and Swallows returning from their warm winter homes. But in the Maldives the arrival of May means a change to the South-West Monsoon, known locally as Hulhangu. This brings with it a change in current direction and upwellings of nutrient-rich water, perfect for plankton. Manta rays follow these upwellings to the East side of the Maldivian Atolls to gobble up as much plankton as they can. May also means our field season in Hanifaru Bay is imminent and we canNOT wait to get out and welcome our huge friends back to their feeding ground in Baa Atoll, Maldives! #manta #mantaray #research #conservation #Maldives #aseasonalshift
When you're out in the field getting as many manta ID pictures you don't often have the time to take artistic shots for yourself. However @tomburd has been showing us some absolute gems taken during his manta trips with @diamonds_athuruga in the Maldives This is AdriAngela, a subadult male who is often seen barrel-rolling like mad in central Ari Atoll and who stayed with Tom for over an hour on this occasion! Just look at his huge mouth gulping down all the plankton-rich water! #manta #mantaray #research #conservation #Maldives
We're jumping for joy here at Manta Trust, as 4th April brought the news that ALL international trade in mobula rays comes under strict trade controls enforced and tracked by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species)! Last year during CITES CoP 17, the landmark decision to include all mobula rays in CITES Appendix II was made. Basically this means that countries must prove the trade in mobula gill plates is sustainable and not detrimental to the survival of the species (pretty tricky considering how few offspring they give birth to during their lives). We were incredibly happy with the initial decision at CoP17 last year, so this confirmation of the ruling is the icing on the cake! Photo credit: Jesus Omar Avila from @mantamexicocaribe #LoveMiniMantas #CITES #CoP17 #mobula #manta #devilray #oceanoptimism #marineconservation #research
Part of our wider mission is to protect and conserve the habitats in which manta rays live and are crucial for their survival - coral reefs. Unfortunately this beautiful global ecosystem is under threat and corals have a great way of showing they are sick or dying - they turn a ghostly white through a process called 'bleaching'. @tomburd, one of our researchers in Ari Atoll, Maldives, captured this shocking image, showing the extent of the bleaching on a reef in the Maldives. #manta #coralreef #research #conservation #Maldives #underwaterphotography #uwphotography
Shark & ray ecotourism around the world is booming. We want to ensure it is safe and sustainable, to help protect these vulnerable animals and the livelihoods of the people that depend on them.⠀ ⠀ So to get things started this #WorldWildlifeDay, we've teamed up with @wwf and @projectaware to create the world's first Guide to Responsible Shark and Ray Tourism! (link in our bio).⠀ ⠀ The Guide provides FREE, practical, downloadable tools to help tourists, operators, and governments ensure their shark and ray tourism operations follow best practices. ⠀ ⠀ It's up to us - divers, snorkelers & tourism operators - to take action to protect sharks and rays!⠀ ⠀ #ResponsibleSharkRayTourism #SharkRayTourismGuide⠀#sharks #rays #mantas #mantarays #tourism #tourists #ecotourism #responsible #safe #sustainable #oceans #marinelife #loveminimantas #research #conservation #awareness #education #extinction #scuba #scubadiving #snorkel #freediving #diver #holiday #animals #nature