Diving with the Giant Manta Rays is not just a must-do list in a certain dive destination. They are the most elegant and gentlest fish in the world and sharing water with them is going to be a humbling experience. Giant Manta Rays has the largest brain to body ratio of all fish. As a result, are the most intelligent fish known to mankind. However, you cannot see Manta Rays just everywhere. In fact, they can only be found in the three oceans; the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic. One of the best place to admire these gentle giants are the Manta Point Nusa Penida, Bali, Indonesia, where they present all year round. So why the Mantas love this place and why do they call it home?
The Manta Point Nusa Penida is Located in Warm Water
Reef Mantas could be found in both tropical and subtropical climates, while Giant Manta Rays prefer tropical climate than anything. This means you can find Reef Manta from Japan to New South Wales or from North Carolina of US to New Zealand, but you’ll only found Giant Manta Ray around the equator lines. The major places where Manta Rays live is Indonesia, Thailand, Hawaii, Maldives, Micronesia, and Australia. These are warm water and that’s exactly what Manta Rays love.
The Manta Point Nusa Penida is Nutrient-Rich
Located in the off-coast of Bali, the tiny Nusa Penida conveniently settled in the meeting point of two major ocean currents, coming from the Pacific and Indian ocean. The Manta Point in Nusa Penida receives healthy streamline of currents all year long, bringing in rich nutrient plankton that the Mantas love very much.
A Loyal Cleaner Station
One thing that these ocean giants love from Manta Point Nusa Penida is the presence of wrasse fishes. Family of Wrasse fishes are known to feed on parasites of larger animals, and Manta Rays are their favourite clients. Wrasse fish is vital to Manta Ray as their picked on dead skin cells and parasites. It is also believed that Manta Rays do love going to their cleaning station just as human go to bar. It’s the social interaction that gives these cleaning spot an added value for the Mantas.
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A Nursery for Young Manta Rays
During the past few years, the Marine Megafauna Foundation and Murdoch University reported sightings of large number of juveniles Giant Manta Rays around Nusa Penida. This suggest that the this little island is now housing a nursery nearby. While adult males and females prefers the Manta Point Nusa Penida for cleaning and getting social, the juveniles are seen feeding on Manta Bay, about 12 km from Manta Point. This suggest that Nusa Penida is a safe space for the young. A place where vulnerable juveniles could grow and develop far from the reach of predators. Knowing the nurseries of Manta is very important to provide better protection to these near-endangered species!