Giant Manta Ray Population discovered to be Ten Times Bigger Than Any Other

By Aazam

A population of more than 22,000 oceanic manta rays off the coast of Ecuador is doing well for itself, which is encouraging given the number of species that are threatened by human activity and climate change.

In 2019, oceanic manta rays were classed as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Commercial fishing is the species' biggest concern, whether it's direct targeting or unintentional bycatch.

This species is extremely endangered since other locations generally have population estimates of 1,000 to 2,000 individuals.

Scientists have been monitoring this specific population of manta rays in coastal Ecuador since the late 1990s.

Cold, nutrient-rich water coming from the depths and delivered by ocean currents might be a source of zooplankton nibbles, according to the scientists.

Manta rays appear to be sensitive to changes in their environment, such as variations in water temperature and the availability of food.

While collecting manta rays in this region is now banned, bycatch, fishing net entanglement, and vessel strikes remain a concern, along with climate change many species had injuries or scars during the research period.

Scientists identify manta rays by the distinctive spot pattern on their bellies, comparable to a fingerprint or whale shark marks.