INTRODUCTION: Baa Atoll has an international reputation as one of the most reliable places in the world to see Manta Rays. These animals frequent the waters of Baa Atoll due to the conditions created by the South Asian Monsoon, which provides an abundant source of food for these planktivorous creatures in the region.
Recognition of individuals within a population is a key issue for most behavioral and ecological studies of wild animals.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Every manta ray has its own pattern of spots on its belly, or ventral surface. These spot patterns can be used to identify individual manta rays much in the same way fingerprints can be used to identify humans. By cataloguing photo IDs of manta rays, we can develop a better understanding of how large the local population is, and how its individuals are utilizing certain sites in the area and travelling throughout the region.