A Manta in 'Lanta - Oceana USA
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2008-08-25 00:00:00

A Manta in ‘Lanta

High on my dive wish-list is a trek to Kona, Hawaii to see manta rays, but in the meantime, it appears that I can visit one a little closer to home in Atlanta. That’s right, the Georgia Aquarium, who brought whale sharks to the US a few years ago, is growing their menagerie of aquatic mammoths with the addition of Nandi the manta ray — the only one on exhibit in the United States. Mantas are related to sharks, with skeletons made of cartilage. Like whale sharks, they migrate across the oceans in search of krill and small fish. They also face pressure from fishing; the meat can be dried for preservation and dried manta gill plates fetch a good price in the Asian medicine market.Watch the clip of the Aquarium’s newest attraction, and pay special attention to the top of the screen during the last half of the clip; you can see the manta approaching from behind the reporter’s shoulder.[Image of Nandi the manta ray: John Bazemore/ AP Photo]