2 min read

Gargantuan Manta Ray Dwarfs Diver In Stunning Footage

<p><a class="checked-link" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pUfWne6P-o&list=PLSSPBo7OVSZvJtRrcF5CVSjRkmH9eNWA3">GoPro/YouTube</a></p>

Diving with manta rays is guaranteed to be a stunning experience. But diving with giant oceanic manta rays - the largest type of rays in the world - can be even more overwhelming, as one group of divers in the waters off Ecuador discovered. They were approached by a massive manta ray - so large that it seemed to dwarf them with his fins.

(GoPro/YouTube)

Diver Roberto Ocho and his crew got some stunning close-ups of the rays, which can reach a whopping 23 feet in width - also the length of the largest great white shark ever recorded.

(GoPro/YouTube)

At one point, the behemoth (likely weighing over one ton) swam right over one of the divers, almost entirely covering him.

(GoPro/YouTube)

Classified as a vulnerable species by the IUCN Red List, giant oceanic manta rays face threats from the wildlife trade (their gill rakers are prized for use in traditional medicine), unsustainable fishing, climate change and entanglement in fishing nets.

Check out the GoPro footage to see the mind-boggling size of these ocean giants: