Archives for Manta Ray

The San Gabriel Fine Arts Association is hosting an exhibit titled Marine / Aquatic Exhibition from April 14 to May 23.  The exhibit includes artwork that reflects a myriad of images and themes in the Marine/Aquatic environment including, Oceanic Scenery, Sea Animals, People at Sea, Marine Vessels and the Marine ecosystem.

I will have several aluminum prints on display including:


Star of India


Star of India
















Predator – Hammerhead shark, Molokai Hawaii


Predator – Hammerhead Shark












Carthaginian II

Vintage Carthaginian II

Carthaginian II












USS Kittiwake

USS Kittiwake at rest Grand Cayman

USS Kittiwake












Manta Ray Trio

Manta-Ray-Trio Kona Hawaii

Manta Ray Trio












The San Gabriel Fine Arts Association  (SGFAA) is a non-profit organization, founded in 1965 for the purpose of promoting traditional fine art in the community and to provide a venue for member artists to show their work. The association maintains a large group of over 200 members and represents all of Southern California and several states.

The SSGFAA supports awareness and education in the arts from aspiring artists to professionals by providing a venue and platform for members to display their works, providing art classes and art demonstrations, and encouraging growth and exploration in various forms of art to our community.

In addition to my work their will be a number of other artists displaying a variety of photographs, paintings and other work.  I would encourage everyone to go out and support the San Gabriel Fine Arts Association and their ongoing efforts at education and awareness of the arts in southern California.

The venue is at 320 Mission Deive, San Gabriel, CA the next door to the San Gabriel Playhouse and near the historic San Gabriel Mission and provides great ambience for the exhibit.

Come support the local arts community and enjoy historic San Gabriel.


It is that time of year……

Manta Ray Gill Slits

Manta Ray view of gill slits

DEMA 2014 is just around the corner in Las Vegas from Nov. 19 – 22.  The Ocean Artist Society will have a large dedicated space for displaying artwork from various members and Wyland is planning to exhibiting the entire permanent fine art collection featuring many of the 262 current members. It is an amazing collection of paintings, photographs, sculptures, and other works of art that reflect our members’ vision and commitment to the conservation of our ocean.


According to organizers, the art show will be the largest, most comprehensive gathering of works from top ocean artists in DEMA history. “The idea behind the Ocean Artist Society began at DEMA,” says renowned artist and conservationist Wyland, who founded the OAS with Guy Harvey and Bob Talbot in 2003. “This showcase at DEMA, sponsored by SCUBAPRO, will put a spotlight on the very best work from the world’s most gifted artists.”

“Gill Rakers- Verge of Extinction” will be one of the photographs on display from the Steven W Smeltzer collection, so if you are in Las Vegas at the DEMA show please take the time to review this amazing collection.

Manta-Ray-Gill-SlitsFollow the attached link to view the Ocean Artist Society’s new video, Reasons to Dance promoting the conservation of Manta Rays.  There is much work to be done to protect these magnificent creatures.

As an Ocean Artist Society member, this film and ezine are both important and informative.  We can only protect and help manage our resources if we have knowledge and understanding.  Hopefully this film and ezine provide you with both.  Manta Rays Kona Hawaii, Manta birostris, (Walbaum, 1792), Kona Hawaii (Steven W Smeltzer)

The Oceanic Manta Ray, Manta birostris, can be found in the world’s major oceans from roughly 30 south latitude to Oceanic Manta Ray Rangeapproximately 40 north latitude.  Though these rays are widely distributed their individual population groups are thought to be relatively small, ranging from a 100 or less to as much as 1,000 individuals and the overall population size is unknown.  The IUCN Red List, designates the Oceanic Manta Ray as Vulnerable due mainly to the significant amount over fishing in many areas.  Manta Rays, command a high value in international trade, mainly due to the use of recent introduction of Manta’s gill rakers into Chinese traditional medicine.  This has led to unsustainable fishing activities in many traditional habitats for these beautiful rays.  The rate of reduction appears to be especially high in some regions with as much as an 80% reduction in certain regions and as much as a 30% decline is suspected globally.  Populations in the Philippines, Indonesia and Mexico appear to have been depleted while other populations in Sri Lanka and India are believed to be decreasing.  Manta birostris IUCN Red List

Recent progress has been made with Indonesia in particular creating the world’s largest sanctuary for these wonderful rays, encompassing over 6 million square kilometers.  New Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) rules for sharks and manta rays also went into effect in September of 2014 based upon unprecedented cooperation between member countries.  Also, Scuba diving tourism, a growing industry that has demonstrated significant, sustainable economic value compared to the short-term commercial fishing opportunities, offers the opportunities to generate economic benefit while helping to sustain and grow population groups.  While tourism industries can also negatively impact individual behavior and critical habitat, responsible development activities can provide local economic opportunities while at the same time helping to protect these wonderful creatures.

Manta Ray ballet

Manta Ray ballet

We should take heart that some progress has been made but we must stay vigilant and continue to pressure governments to control and eliminate unsustainable fishing activities and instead focus on how we can co-exist with this wonderful species.

Feel free to contact me or any of the other Ocean Artist Members for more information.  Visit my Manta Ray gallery for more photos of these amazing creatures.



Please lend your voice of support.


Manta Ray diving can be an unforgettable experience.  These gentle giants are both graceful and magnificent Manta Ray Divingreminders of the wonders in our oceans.  Come dive with us off the coast of Hawaii and enjoy these magnificent creatures.

This Manta Ray video was shot off the coast of Kona in Hawaii. It was a marvelous dive. We saw 54 Manta Rays on two dives. 17 on a later afternoon dive and another 37 on the night dive. It was quite an experience.

Manta Ray diving can be an awesome experience.  The magnificent Giant Oceanic Manta Ray, Manta birostris, is something special to experience.  The largest recorded Oceanic Manta Rays was more than 25 ft (7.6m) across from wing-tip to wing-tip and weighed over 5,300 pounds (2,400 kg).  Manta Rays have a short tail and no stinging spine.

Manta Rays are very acrobatic and on this dive you will be able to see them perform aerobatic flips and rolls as they glide through the water all about you.

Manta Rays were first described by Dondorff in 1798 and named Manta birostris. Other synonyms for Manta Rays include Cephalopterus vampyrus Mithchell 1824, Cepahalopterus manta Bancroft 1829, Manta americana Bancroft 1829, Ceratoptera johnii Müller & Henle 1841, Ceratoptera alfredi Krefft 1868, Brachioptilon hamiltoni Hamilton & Newman 1849, Raja manatia Bloch & Schneider 1801, Manta hamiltoni Hamilton & Newman 1849, and Manta alfredi Krefft 1868.

The Manta Ray is one of the largest fishes, and has been know to reach 9 m (29.5 ft) and weigh as much as 1,350 k (3,000 lb).  The Manta Ray’s lifespan is thought to be about 20 years.  They are close relatives of sharks, which are also one of their main predators along with certain types of whales.  They are a close relative to the stingray, but they do not have a stinging tail.

View other underwater photography on my website or vist my post – Diving with Manta Rays

The pool is open…

Manta Ray Duet. Manta birostris. Kona HawaiiA dive with the magnificent Giant Oceanic Manta Ray, Manta birostris, is something really special.  The  largest recorded Oceanic Manta Ray was more than 25 ft (7.6 m) across from wing-tip to wing-tip  and weighed over 5,300 pounds (2,400 kg).  Manta Rays have a short tail and no stinging spine. They are very acrobatic and you can see them perform aerobatic flips and rolls as they glide through the water.   They can even leap (breach) from the water.

Manta rays have the largest brain-to-body ratio of the sharks, rays and skates (Elasmobranchii), with ratios approaching what is expected in mammals rather than in fishes.

We did two dives one late afternoon and saw 17 Mantas swimming along the reef and then Manta Ray Garden Eel Cove,  Manta birostris, (Walbaum, 1792), Kona Hawaii (Steven W Smeltzer)coming to join us for a short time and then on the night dive we had 31 different Manta Rays swimming all around us.  The Mantas come to feed on plankton which is attracted to light.  The dive operators give individuals flashlights and also place some extra lights in the water and you simply sit in about 35 feet of water as the Mantas “fly” around you.  It is certainly a memorable dive.

The breeding behavior observed for manta rays is similar to other closely related rays. Copulation occurs near the surface, no deeper than one metre below. It begins with the male chasing the female, for up to half an hour, both often closely followed by a train of hopeful suitors. Such mating trains seem to be triggered by a full moon. The male bites the pectoral fin and then moves its claspers into the cloaca, holding it there for one minute to one and a half while copulation takes place. The developing eggs remain inside the female’s body for possibly as long as 12 months and hatch internally so that she bears live young. The average litter size is two pups, and there is often a two year gap between births. (source – Wikipedia).

Adults are easily recognized by their large triangular pectoral fins and projecting cephalic fins, forward extensions of the pectoral fins that project anteriorly on either side of the head. Each cephalic fin is about twice as long as its base is wide. The length of each cephalic lobe, from tip to the mouth, is 14% of the disc Manta Ray in Flight, Manta birostris,  (Walbaum, 1792), Kona Hawaii (Steven W Smeltzer)width. They are rolled like spirals when swimming and flattened when eating. This ray has smooth skin, a broad,rectangular terminal mouth located at the front of the head, and a tail that lacks a spine.


Manta Ray Encounter, Manta birostris, (Walbaum, 1792), Kona Hawaii (Steven W Smeltzer)I highly encourage you to take advantage of the chance to scuba dive with the Mantas the next time you are on the big island of Hawaii or if you are visiting Hanifaru, a small lagoon next to an uninhabited island in the Maldives or another Manta diving location.  It is an awesome opportunity to meet some truly wonderful creatures.

The pool is open…