My usual posts feature a single photo or perhaps two or three, but today I wanted to give an idea of a recent encounter I had in the water with this manta ray. The photos are a sequence, top to bottom, from the time I first saw it, to it fading from sight into deeper water, about a 10 minute period. The ray swam quite slowly during that time, allowing me to keep up with it.
There are two kinds of manta rays. M. birostris, also known at the ocean manta, is the larger of the two species with a wingspan of 20 feet or more. The manta in these photos is M. alfredi, or reef manta, with a wingspan of 18 feet or less. This one was probably around 12 feet across.