The amazing flight of manta-rays

15 febrero 2007

© 2005 Michael Albert. Do not copy without permissionAccording to several researchers, manta rays are often seen jumping out of the water, as high as 2 feet, and then returning to the sea. Scientists are not sure why this jump takes place - it is just one of the many things yet to discover about the manta.

© 2005 Doc White. Do not copy without permissionThey may do it to escape a potential predator, as part of a courtship display, or to rid themselves of skin parasites. Nobody knows. It could even be a kind of play.

A smaller variety, called Mobula, jumps more frequently than any other kind of manta-ray. In the summer of 2005, Paul and Michael Albert documented these fantastic creatures at the sea of Cortez (Baja California), one of the largest concentrations of Manta Rays in the world. “The Flying Mobulas of the Sea of Cortez”, is the amazing article they wrote after their experience with hundreds of jumping rays.

© 2005 Michael Albert. Do not copy without permission“Whoosh! – wrote Paul - Without warning, a mobula emerges from below the surface, its long flat body glistening in the evening light and whip for a tail trailing behind. Flap, flap, flap, maybe a somersault or two, and then smack! It happened again and again. Single flips. Straight-up belly flops. Double flips. I see a single mobula leap a few times in succession; others leap only once and then disappear. I witness mobulas partially emerging from the water, one third of the wingtip still immersed, and rotate around that tip”.

Here you can see some of the few pictures and videos I could find. I hope you like them:

© 2005 Michael Albert. Do not copy without permission

Warning: Images courtesy of Michael Albert and Doc White. Do not copy without permission.

More info: 1, 2, 3, 4