287 mantas identified at Socorro Island + "alpha" female dolphins – Guest blog – Jan.13,2010

San Benedicto Island & Socorro Island..
Team Manta were up bright and early for yet another aqua-mission. at Socorro Island Punta Tosca proved itself once again as a fantastic spot for tagging Manta’s. Our previously deployed VR2 receiver was in good condition, patrolled by Bottlenose dolphins, silver-tips and Manta’s. Three male giant mantas were successfully tagged on the first dive, two on the second. The Dolphins were friendly as ever, with the ‘alpha’ female dolphincoaxing other members of the pod in for diver interaction. The dolphins were closely followed by a lone silver-tip. We sighted at least two humpbacks with calves and a pod of false killer whales which one guest snorkeled with for around 10 minutes. Roca Oneil and Aquarium were mellow in comparison to the morning dives, big swell hampering matters at the rock and mild waters gave to a relaxing swim at Aquarium. Presently cruising back to San Benedicto to hopefully deploy our last receiver and our last tag. A most enjoyable and successful day. We are utterly sad to think about our last diving day tomorrow. However, we will be back! A truly spectacular dive destination, ridiculously lovely, efficient, professional, helpful crew and a beautiful boat. Thanks!!! Rory Moore
Beginning in the late 1970s I began studying the biology and ecology of the manta ray (Manta birostris) in the Sea of Cortez and at the Revillagigedos. Using photographic identification methods the Pacific Manta Research Group has gathered data on manta rays from the Revillagigedos Archipelago from 1978 forward. Many thanks to the crew and divers on the Nautilus Explorer for their many photographic contributions over time. To date we have identified 287 individual manta rays at the Revillagigedos Islands. Of these, 80 have been seen repeatedly between two and 12 times, one of which has a sightings span of 18 years and several others have been seen for 15 years. Currently an average of 62.2% of the mantas seen on a trip are resighted. Mantas move between islands, sometimes within a few days time. To date six animals have been seen both at San Benedicto and Socorro Island, two at both Socorro and Roca Partida, 14 at both San Benedicto and Roca Partida, and one manta at all three islands. In addition, one manta was seen at both San Benedicto and Isla Cerralvo in the Sea of Cortez. This last observation is especially important and encouraging, as it suggests that the Revillagigedos population may be able to contribute to the badly depleted population of the Gulf of California. We have several other manta related projects on going in the Revillagigedos and in the Sea of Cortez. If you have photos that might contribute to our research or want to know more about the Pacific Manta Research Group. please contact us.
Thank you,
Robert Rubin, Program Director
Karey Kumli, Project Manager: Manta.birostris1@gmail.com

By Nautilus Staff

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