An extremely rare pink manta ray has been seen swimming around the Great Barrier Reef. The creature is probably the rarest on earth because it is almost entirely pink.
The huge ray has been nicknamed Inspector Clouseau after the hapless detective featured in the Pink Panther film series. Gliding effortlessly around the Great Barrier Reef the creature weighs in at around 2 tonnes with a 7-meter wide wingspan.
The ray was spotted by Kristian Laine around Lady Elliot Island in 2019 and the Finnish photographer captured some amazing images. The pictures generated a great deal of excitement in the scientific community who are keen to understand how the pink coloration has occurred.
Scientists have come up with several explanations as to how this amazing animal has turned out to have such an unusual color. Theories are changing all the time and even after they analyzed his skin they still don't have a clear idea of what is causing this unique pigment.
The latest theory to emerge is that the pink color may be the result of a genetic mutation which has made Inspector Clouseau's melanin show up as pink.
Since the first sighting in 2015, Inspector Clouseau has only been seen 8-10 times; this form of skin pigment is extremely rare and he is likely to be the only specimen on Earth.
The photographs captured by Kristian were taken from just a few feet away from the ray and the photographer was able to spend around 30 minutes swimming alongside the animal.
This amazing experience happened when he came across the ray taking part in a mating mantra train that had appeared near a cleaning station.