Manta ID Palau

In Palau we have been collecting reef manta photo IDs since 2009


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In Palau we have been collecting reef manta photo IDs since 2009. Without invasive tagging methods, and with the help of local dive guides and tourists we have been able to ID over 350 individual mantas in Palau, in the process learning a lot about these amazing creatures. Palau mantas spend more time near reefs and inside lagoons than we knew, and stay year-round, following the plankton around Palau’s reefs, depending on wind direction, moon cycles and tides. On special occasions when conditions are perfect, large feeding aggregations of dozens of mantas can be seen around the northern reefs. Diver bubbles can bother and block feeding mantas, so snorkeling is the least disturbing way to observe feeding mantas. The manta cleaning stations are deeper and only accessible to scuba divers. If divers keep their distance and stay still on the bottom so the animals feel comfortable, they often stay around for a whole dive.

There are only five areas with cleaning stations known in Palau so far, and the most consistent one, German Channel, where mantas feed as well as clean, has become one of the top tourist spots in Palau. Hundreds of people enter the water here daily during the November- April season hoping to see a manta ray snorkeling or diving.


You can check your manta photo against the database to ID your manta, and check our re-sighting data to see when this manta was first and last seem in Palau. Pls attach Jpeg images between 500kb- 1mb by email or by online form. Photographers hereby understand and agree that any submitted images or video can be used by MantaID Palau for MantaID purposes and posted on their website and/or for any future publications about Palau’s manta rays. Photo credit will be given for each image, but no monetary compensation. Pls email to or Thank you!

Mandy Etpison with a manta mural she painted for the Captain Wilson Art Gallery at the Palau Pacific Resort. Founder of the Palau manta database, Mandy came to Palau in 1985 as the first PADI instructor on island for Neco Marine, and became the Palau Project leader for Manta Trust since 2013. Managing Director of the Etpison Museum, she is also Honorary Consul of the Netherlands to the Republic of Palau.