The Raja Ampat archipelago is located off the northwestern tip of the Birds Head Peninsular on the island of New Guinea in Indonesia’s West Papua province. At the center of the coral triangle, Raja Ampat is one of the most biodiverse marine regions in the world including 1,397 species of reef fish and 75% of the worlds known coral species.
Both oceanic and reef manta occur in Raja Ampat and there are a number of known sites where they are regularly sighted. Although this in itself is nothing out of the ordinary, we have made some interesting observations at a remote manta cleaning site in the Misool region of Raja Ampat. Both species of manta frequent this site and have been observed associating and interacting with each other, something that is rarely, if ever, seen anywhere else in the world.
The significance of these observations is being investigated and a photographic identification database is helping to shed light on the ecology of this population. To date we have recorded over 150 reef and 28 oceanic manta ray in Raja Ampat and we are working closely with Misool Eco Resort, who have created the Misool Manta Project to help with data collection and monitoring in the region.