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Meet the Mantas

To date, over 300 individual mantas have been identified and named near Kona. Here, you can meet some of our mantas and learn more about what makes these individuals so special!

Big Bertha

Big Bertha is one of the largest mantas in the Kona clan and was first identified in 1992. She is friendly and comes close to divers. She frequents both the Kona Surf site and the northern site at Ho'ona Bay/Garden Eels. She is one of the most commonly sighted manta rays all year round.  She has been observed to be pregnant several times over the years.  When Bertha was tagged in 2002 she swam from Garden Eel Cove/ Ho’ona Bay north, past Waikoloa and then turned around and swam back.  A distance of approximately 40 miles round trip.  When she was measured using lasers photo analysis on April 26, 2009, she was calculated to be 11.7 feet across wing tip to wing tip.



Blain Ray

Blain Ray was first seen on Dec 1, 2007 at Ho'ona Bay/ Garden Eels cove by Scott Blain at that time Blain ray was approximantely 5 feet across. When he was young he was very shy and would stay to the outside of all the divers, but soon he got used to the divers and the bubbles, and began diving through the center of the group feeding with the other mantas. Today he has grown to be about 7 feet wing tip to wing tip and can be seen on the Kona Manta Ray Night Dive at Ho'ona Bay/ Garden Eels cove and the Keauhou site. He actively does barrel rolls throught the lights of the campfire all they way up to the snorkelers at the top


Hip Hip HooRay'

Hip Hip HooRay is an 8 foot wide male manta ray that was first sighted January 14, 2013 at Ho'ona Bay/ Garden Eels cove by MPRF founder Keller Laros. He is named to commemorate the addition of manta rays being added to the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Appendix II on March 14, 2013. The inclusion of manta rays on this list is designed to stop the international trade of manta ray body parts. The ending of legal international trade of manta ray gill rackers will reduce the fishing pressure they are currently experience. Manta ray inclusion on this list sends a strong international message and arms manta ray conservationist worldwide with the necessary treaty to intervene in the trafficking of manta ray body parts.


Koie ray was first sighted at Ho’ona Bay/Garden Eels on August 17, 2001 along with 15 other manta rays. She was sighted again November 24, 2001 at the Kona Surf site. At that time she was approximately 7' across. On May 18, 2009, when Koie was measured using laser photometry she was calculated to be ~ 11.1 feet across at her wing tips. The summer of 2004 her left cephalic fin was cut off by entanglement in fishing line. That fall she received more cuts from fishing line on the top and bottom edge of her right wing. It took several years, but the fishing line cuts healed, leaving minal scaring, and a nick in her right wing. MPRF would like to add Koie to their manta ray growth study to determine if missing a cephalic fin hampers her growth. By adopting Koie you can support our manta ray growth study program as well as all of MPRF other research and outreach efforts.


Lefty was the first manta ray named because her floppy left cephalic fin made her easy to pick out of a crowd.  When uncurled, the fin sometimes hangs down and almost looks normal, but other times it flops into her mouth channeling food and water away from her mouth instead of into it.  MPRF would like to include Lefty in their growth rate study to determine if being feeding challenged is hampering her growth and development. However, with an ~ 12' wingspan this 35 year old manta ray seems to be holding her own very well.

Sugar Ray

Sugar Ray was first sighted at Ho'ona Bay /Garden Eels in August 2000, he was only ~ 5' across at the time and quite young. We know he was quiet young do to his small size and his claspers were small and still developing. He has since fully matured and his claspers extend well beyond his pelvic fins, signifying he is a mature male. When Sugar Ray was measured using laser photometry on April 26, 2009, he was calculated to be 9.8 feet across at his wing tips. Sugary ray has contributed significantly to our understanding of the Kona manta ray population for in June 2002, he was the first manta ray tagged in a home range study research project headed by Tim Clark, Ph.D. then of the University of Hawaii, now at the National Park Service American Samoa. Sugar ray continues to help us understand the local manta rays by appearing regularly on the Kona Manta Ray night dive.

Vicky Ray

Vicky Ray was first identified on June 12, 2002 at the Ho'ona Bay/ Garden Eels site by manta dive guide David Maddox. She is named after Victoria Newman, Ph.D., manta enthusiast and one of the original board of directors of Manta Pacific Research Foundation who happened to be on the dive the first night she was seen. At that time Vicky ray was very small, 4' or so, and very shy and stayed to the outside of the divers. With time she began to feed in the middle of the group. On September 9, 2002 Vicky Ray was sighted with a hook in her left cephalic fin. The hook was removed by a diver and Vicky Ray was able to retain full function of the fin. She is now at least 12 feet wide and is regularly seen at the Ho'ona Bay /Garden Eels cove dive sites.

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