Giant mantas

Giant-sized mantas emerge from the depths of the ocean to visit the Tofu reef for just a few days before disappearing back into the Indian Ocean, rarely to be seen again. It was thought that there was only one manta species, but biologist Andrea Marshall felt that these mantas were quite different. With a wingspan of 7.5m they were not only much larger but their markings were much more pronounced. But she needed proof to identify them as a different species. Mantas evolved from stingrays, and lost their sting over millions of years. Andrea noticed that these giants had an unusual lump at the base of their tail which was found to contain the remains of a stinging spine. This was the proof the scientist had been searching for to announce to the world the discovery of a new species.

Release date: 11 Nov 2009

3 minutes

Credits

Role Contributor
PresenterAlisdair Simpson
ParticipantAndrea Marshall
DirectorMark Woodward
ProducerMark Woodward
Executive ProducerSarah Cunliffe

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