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For a couple of years now, we’ve been playing through the length of our region’s largest jigfish reef. And, it’s been fascinating! The water has played tricks on us all. We’ve caught killer snapper (horned pig heads) and bluefin tuna with our bare hands. And, most impressively, we have also discovered some new species: the microraasious choristocryptis saharica. These are the world’s largest ever mantis shark — in fact, they’re the world’s largest living mantis shark! But don’t worry — this is nothing to be intimidated by! These fish are stunning and will challenge any trained diver. Let’s see exactly what you can do when you come face to face with these beasts.

What is a mantis shark?

A mantis shark is the largest species of marine turtle, with a length up to 3.5 m (12 feet). The mantis shark is the only turtle species to be equipped with a nervous system capable of communicating via smell. By olfaction, these animals produce pheromones that are detected by aquatic insects, which then use this information to find prey. These large turtles also have ivory-colored translucent skin which they use to blot out the ultraviolet rays of the sun. The mantis shark’s pheromones are stronger than those of the regular sea turtle and, unlike the rest of the sea turtle’s pheromones, they are able to be detected underwater for up to 40 days.

Why does it have scales?

To increase its surface area, the mantis shark reaches over 6 ft (2.4 meters) in length. In addition to this, the species has a large, strong beak which it uses to eat its prey.

How big are these fish?

The average adult mantis shark reaches a length of 3.5 m (12 feet) and a weight of 51 kg (14 lbs). It is one of the largest marine animals in the world and reaches a maximum total length of 5.5 m (17 feet) and a weight of 191 kg (35 lbs). There are 8 species of mantis sharks and they range in size from the diminutive spectacled mantis (Microrosa borealis) which reaches a length of 1.5 m (4 feet) to the massive mantis which reaches a length of 5.5 m (17 feet). The largest species of mantis shark is the black mantis (M. gabrieli) which reaches a length of 8.5 m (26 feet).

What’s really going on with the tuna belly count?

This is a fascinating topic to discuss with your companions on a diving trip because there is such a diversity of opinions on this issue. Some would say that the larger the tuna, the more likely it is to be caught in the right place at the right time. This is true in the case of large tunas where the deeper free-swimming fish stocks are located. One could also say that larger fish belong in deeper water where their preferred habitats are located. One could also say that certain species of fish are more dominant than others in certain areas where they occur.

When to go in and when to go out

There are hundreds of species of mantis sharks worldwide and most of them are found in the deep sea. Most of them are rather inconspicuous when in the open ocean because of their massive size. Some species of mantis sharks are known to be active at depths of up to 18,000 feet (6km). The majority of these individuals are laid down at a very early age, typically in the summer months.


If you’ve been around long enough, you’ve likely observed that there is a great deal of diversification in the marine species. This is especially true of mantis sharks. The vast majority of mantis sharks are found in the deep sea, while a few are found in the coastal seas. There is also a great deal of interspecific competition among species in the deep sea and even in the coastal waters where most species are found. This means that there is a good chance that the one you are watching will challenge your skill and ability to catch the other.

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