These are several shots of the world's only known pink manta ray Inspector Clouseau (named after the French detective in the Pink Panther series) as captured by underwater photographer Kristian Laine off the coast off Lady Elliot Island in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The 11-foot manta ray's pink hue is believed to be the result of a genetic mutation in its skin's expression of melanin, and has only been spotted around eight times in the past five years. The hardest part of Kristian's encounter? Let me copy/paste that for you while I try to introduce the manta to this pink dolphin so they can start an exclusive club:
"The biggest challenge was trying to hold my breath whilst freediving to about a 12-meter depth with a big buoyant camera rig and to time it at the same time to be in a good spot at the right moment. And, also, to calm my excitement about 7 mantas mating. It all happens so fast when you're freediving."
Ahahahhaha @ 'And, also, to calm my excitement about 7 mantas mating.' I hear you bro. I see any animals mating and I'm excited, let alone bearing witness to a full-blown orgy. Still, as cute as this manta is we can't forget what its brethren did to our man Steve. "That was a stingray." Oh right. Man, it's gonna be weird in ten years when the only things living in our oceans are sentient plastic bags and water bottles.
Keep going for a few more shots.
Thanks to Caroline J and Nate H, who agree it's good to be different.