< Manta Ray ID Project

About the Kona Manta Ray Sighting Data

For many years, the Kona Manta Rays have been photographed and identified using their unique spot pattern on their ventral (abdominal) side. The first Kona Manta Ray ever identified was named Lefty, because she had a bent left cephalic fin. She may also be the oldest known manta ray. She was a mature adult female ray when when Steve Myklebust first realized that it was the same manta ray returning to the Keauhou dive site repeatedly since mid 1979.

The manta identification project was started in 1991 by Keller and Wendy Laros, Co-Founders of Manta Pacific Research Foundation (MPRF). Naturally, Lefty became "Manta #1" and they started producing a Booklet with thumbnail photos of each manta's spot pattern in order to more easily identify them and keep track of them. Keller also started recording in a logbook which individual mantas were seen each evening at the dive site in Keauhou which was becoming a more popular tourist destination.

In 2003, Janice McLaughlin, also a Co-Founder of MPRF, took over the ID management responsibilities and created a website for MPRF that was able to show everyone the photos and story of each identified manta ray. She also created a website form system for dive guides to be able to report and log, when and where individual manta rays were seen.

In 2015, Janice designed and created an online database to start recording this information into a more usable format. She also wrote an iOS App for mobile users to be able to view the current mantas and to report their own images and sighting information while on the water. The manta list continues to this day where we have more than 295 unique individuals identified.

Now, starting in 2020, Thanks to the below individuals, we now have Web access to the same database and can make the manta viewing experience, easier, more modern, and especially ... always up to date!

Website Created By:

Danielle Thurow

Janice McLaughlin & Kacie Guthrie