While they might look like giant dopey kites, manta lights are among the smartest fish in the oceans and seas. As this footage highlights, these oceanic titans are capable of some incredible levels of social intelligence and sensitivity.
The stunning footage appears to show a giant manta light “asking” for help, as they say, to save her life.
The 3-meter-wide( 9.8 -foot) ray, named “Freckles”, was spotted by a group of snorkelers from Ningaloo Marine Interactions off the waters of Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. The ray began edging closer to Jake Wilton, a wildlife guidebook who was resulting a group of divers, before she flipped over onto her back and disclosed a fish hooking catch under her right eye.
“You could see she trusts us because she was rolling and showing us the hookings, “ Wilton said in a short film by Seadog TV& Film Productions.
“I ran for a few dives down simply to see how she respond to us being close to her.”
Video politenes of @westernaustralia/ @montyhallsfamily/ @ningaloomarineinteractions/ @jakewiltonphoto
Despite numerous dives down and failed attempts to remove the hook, the manta ray stayed still. Eventually, Jake was able to carefully remove the hooks and Freckles peacefully drifted into the crystal clear sea.
“I went down again simply to say goodbye and she actually stopped, and just waited there, ” he added.
Manta lights are exceptionally intelligent fish. They have the largest brain of any cartilaginous fish, despite their own bodies being considerably smaller than big sharks. Some of their brain cells are also physically comparable to other animal species, such as birds and mammals. This extra brainpower means they are communicative, playful, and emotionally sensitive. As behavior tests have shown, manta lights even show signs of self-awareness – the gold standard of animal intelligence.
“In the water with these guys, you get the sense there’s a lot more going on in there than your median fish, ” ecologist Josh Stewart, associate director of the conservation charity Manta Trust, said in 2007 . “Mantas will go out of their style to come interact. They’re much more like a mammal.”
However, the intent of the manta ray, despite how it appears, cannot be stated for certain. Being brainy for a fish also doesn’t mean they’re safe from the dangers of humanity. The IUCN Red List states this species is vulnerable to extinction and that their global population trend is on the decline. Their main threat is fishing, both targeted or accidental, although they are also susceptible to pollution, increasingly busy shipping lanes, and the upsurge of industrial development.