Common Name: Alfred Manta
Distribution: Seasonally common in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Distributed throughout the Indo-West Pacific region: from the Red Sea, South Africa to Thailand and Western Australia, north to Japan, south to Solitary Islands in Australia, east to the Hawaiian Islands and French Polynesia.
Ecological Notes: Frequent open waters as well as shallows close to islands within the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Feed on planktonic organisms within the water column, depth range from the surface to at least 120 m.
Additional Notes: Distinguished from similar Mobula birostris by presence of black markings between the gill slits. Usually seen in Solitary Islands Marine Park when water temperature rises above about 21 degrees and may stay until June or July. Commonly encountered by divers at all of the offshore islands. The animal in the top two photographs has been recorded by Project Manta at Lady Elliot Island in 2010 and at Byron Bay in 2014. His name is Valentino and he is number 398 on their database. He was identified by the unique pattern of blotches on his underside. These photos were taken in 2000. May grow to 5.5 m width.
References: R. Stuart-Smith, G. Edgar, A. Green, I. Shaw, Tropical Marine Fishes of Australia. Reed New Holland Publishers, 2015. p.33.
Atlas of Living Australia website at https://bie.ala.org.au/search?q=Mobula+alfredi. Accessed 30/09/2018.