A manta ray is seen for the first time in some 10 years at a dive site about 300 meters off the coast of the Wakayama Prefecture town of Kushimoto in this recent photo. Scuba diving is popular in this western Japan town, which is now crowded with divers who want to catch a glimpse of the fish. Daisuke Komatsu, 30, a guide with local dive shop Coral Queen, spotted the manta ray at the site on the morning of Sept. 12. Of the two manta ray species, the spotted fish is believed to be a giant oceanic manta ray. Komatsu stated, "It was the first time I ever saw a manta ray. It measured some three meters when both of its pectoral fins were spread out. The fish came as close as about a meter away from me and I was surprised."
(Japanese original by Yoshihiro Yamamoto, Wakayama Bureau)