Mating mobula and manta ray??

Location: Roca Partida (Socorro Island), Revillagigedos

Comments: Today is our second day at Roca Partida on this trip and the diving is still excellent. We saw schooling Galapagos sharks again today with some divers reporting really large numbers vaguely visible off in the blue. The giant manta rays have finally shown up (phew!) and seemed very interested in our divers.

It’s been a bit of a funny trip that way – we’ve seen more sharks than EVER before but very few mantas. And the mantas that we have seen have mostly kept their distance until today. ‘Tis the nature of big animal diving as I always tell people. I divemastered one splash and saw two mantas and then an ENORMOUS school of jacks – the water was so thick with them that I had trouble looking beyond them to see the marauding Galapagos sharks.

One of our divers reported seeing extraordinary behaviour with a very large male mobula ray (which is still dwarflike in size compared to a giant manta ray) pursuing a female chevron giant manta. While we have seen a lot more female than male mantas this season, the males are definitely here and we sometimes observe what appears to be mating behaviour with the male pursuing the female from behind and the two of them soaring and dancing through the water. It’s hard to tell if they are both enjoying it (not meaning to anthropomorphize the behaviour too much) or if the female is simply trying to get away from a doggedly determined lustful male!! Anyways, Roberto is quite sure that the pursuing ray was a mobula as its mouth was not located terminally. Soooooo, the question is whether he might have witnessed a prelude to interspecies sex!?!

–Captain Mike

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