Not Always Black and White – Rapid Colour Change in Mantas

BtJnDGTIcAIBYhPFollowing a lifetime of manta research, Dr Csilla Ari, Director of the Manta Pacific Research Foundation has revealed that mantas are capable of reversibly and repeatedly changing their colour within a matter of minutes.

After noticing when these changes occur, Dr Ari suggested in a paper published in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society last year that these rapid colour changes are likely to be an “indication of excitement, aggression and courting, or perhaps stress related to hormonal changes.

It could also be speculated that these colouration changes might give adaptive advantages for prey capture, be used as a communication signal between individuals or help to avoid potential predators”.

The change involves quick changes of intense colouration in the areas of lighter hued markings which increase in white intensity, especially in the shoulder bars, chevron striped markings on their backs, fin tips, circular area around the eyes, the mouth and inner side of the cephalic fins (the flaps surrounding their mouth).

Source: Ocean Geographic, 31.01.2015