Giant ray find baffles experts

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Experts are baffled at the appearance of a three-metre-plus Manta ray which was found dead near a beach in Salem, Massachusetts.

The Manta ray was spotted floating in Salem harbour on Sunday evening and was towed to shore by jet skiers.

Experts from New England Aquarium measured the giant fish, which took six men to lift ashore, and recorded its weight at 500-600 lbs, and 11 feet across the wings.

Dan Laughlin of the New England Aquarium told the Boston Herald: "It is very unusual to get this kind of animal in New England. I was surprised when I first saw it.

"People have been coming to see it in groups and we have been helping them interpret what their eyes are seeing.

"To me, this animal looks very thin and it is half the size of a fully grown adult so it certainly didn't die of old age."

Atlantic Manta rays, Manta birostris, are typically found in tropical, subtropical and some temperate waters between latitudes of 35°N and 35°S.

The species reaches a typical adult size of around 6.7m/22', with the largest specimens measuring up to 9m/29' across the wings.

Like other members of the mobulid family, Mantas are primarily filter feeders, but do eat the odd fish too.