Pink hopes on horizon for project
HOPES of seeing Inspector Clouseau on Project Manta’s fieldwork trip to Lady Elliot Island next week has researchers and locals alike tickled pink.
Named Inspector Clouseau, the pigmented manta is the world’s only recorded pink manta ray and the reason behind his beautiful complexion is yet to be determined.
In 2016, researchers for Project Manta, a multidisciplinary research collaboration focusing on the population ecology and biology of manta rays within Australian waters, were able to collect a skin sample via biopsy.
According to National Geographic, the results from the biopsy ruled out diet and infection as the cause of his pink colouring.
Asia Haines, a research assistant for the group, told National Geographic the leading theory was that the manta has a genetic mutation in the expression of melanin, or pigment.