‘Very Weird’: Pink manta ray captures world media
Considering how rare it is, the world's only known pink manta ray has been seen by millions.
Gold Coast photographer Kristian Laine has been bombarded with emails from around the world after an encounter with the creature named Inspector Clouseau after the Pink Panther character.
His photos, taken in the waters off Lady Elliot Island, have featured in the New York Post, Fox News, the Daily Mirror and National Geographic among many other media outlets around the world.
He described the feeling of going viral as a photographer as amazing and something you could not prepare for.
"It's a very weird feeling though to wake up one morning to millions of emails," he said.
"It's been amazing to get messages from all around the world saying how my photos have made their day or how they would like to see mantas in the water."
Kathy Townsend, senior lecturer in animal ecology at the University of the Sunshine Coast, said the 3m mature male manta ray was first seen in 2015. He's been spotted almost every year since, always around Lady Elliot Island, and always in August and September.
"I think he's more exciting than a white whale," she said.
It's unknown where he spends the rest of the year, but given how often he exhibits courtship behaviour, Ms Townsend said maybe more pink manta rays would be seen in the future.
She suggested the nickname Casanova would also work well.