The Lives of Yap Mantas
Researching manta rays in Yap is growing a voice for studying small local populations. The individual lives of these animals can be tracked and studied using a custom database.
This is Mungzinger, the most dependable manta in Yap, she’s always here and is most distinguishable by a shark bite mark on her right wing.
Last year during mating season her ID shots showed fresh mating scars – the male side mounts, and clips on with his mouth to his partner’s wing tip for the final act, leaving marks.
Later last year she started showing and it was obvious that she was pregnant. Reproduction is a great sign for Yap’s manta population… and this isn’t the only pregnant female that was expecting this spring.
Mungzinger went off the radar for a couple of days and reappeared with two surprises; one expected and the other, not so much. The expected surprise was that she had her baby, showing a much sleeker profile in her latest research photos.
The unexpected surprise was that she also had fresh mating scars.
It will be interesting to see in the fall if she’s pregnant and maybe by next summer, another baby manta could be in Yap.
So far there is a new arrival this year for the resident database, a baby one. We first encountered a small manta on the outer reef drift diving the wall at Buena Vista – a very nice encounter in clear blue water where an ID was grabbed from a guest’s action cam video.
The next morning at the cleaning station we watched a small male (right) chasing a baby male out of the area – a first time to see that behavior as well.
On this dive the baby had his second photo IDs taken.
This baby is presumably from a different mom, it’s believed to be a little too big to be Mungzinger’s which can only be a few weeks old. Hopefully we’ll be seeing an even smaller manta romping around in the lagoon soon.
Get involved with conserving Micronesian manta rays on your exotic big animal dive vacation at next year’s Manta Mania, our citizen science big animal symposium with leading manta ray and shark researchers.
Learn about the lives of these mysterious and magical creatures while diving to protect them in the world’s first manta sanctuary.
We host daily science workshops on big animals and pack the dive plan with all of Yap’s best dive sites, a shark feed, lunches in villages and a private beach party.
Check out last year’s trip report >