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Kona Manta Ray Identification Project
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Image from video by Jim Wing
Number: 94
Name: Hans Ray
Sex: Male
Current Size: {Size}
Last Sighting: July 10, 2005
First Size: {First Size}
First Sighting: July 10, 2005

Hans Ray was first seen on July 10th 2005 offshore of the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa (formerly the Kona Surf Resort). We immediately knew he was a "pup" in as much as his size was strikingly smaller than the other creatures in the West Hawaii home range. He was quite shy and timid, preferring instead to position himself at the periphery of the lighted areas. He would not approach divers, snorkelers, or go near the surface. Hans spent most of his time close to the bottom and never did the "loop to loop" swimming maneuver we commonly associate with mantas while they are feeding. It was also interesting to note that when approached with lights, Hans would do a "bucking" up and down motion (presumably evasive action) and this was never observed before in other rays. The steady diet of plankton afforded to him by the lights of the resort and the divers seems to agree with him as we have noticed a rapid increase in size at this writing (September 2005) from his original 3.5 ft. when he was first sighted to perhaps as much as 1.5 feet fin tip to fin tip. He has since habituated to and become desensitized to divers and snorkelers. Hans now exibits what we naturalists would describe as normal feeding behavior for mantas in an artificially-lighted environment, in the presence of humans, during passive interaction.

Hans Ray(*Hans was named after a relative of local videographer and manta enthusiast, Martina Wing. The manta's namesake is Hans Hug, a german national, who lost his battle with cancer at age 44 around the same time as we spotted this "new" juvenille manta ray. Tragically, he left behind a wife and three young daughters.)

(Hans Ray was later mis-identified as a new ray which we called Kepa)

photo at left by Lance Hanson 2006/11/04