The world’s only pink manta ray has been pictured swimming off the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Photographer Kristian Laine snapped incredible images of the adorable underwater beastie, which has been named Inspector Clouseau after the hapless detective from the Pink Panther movies.

He shared the images on Instagram where they quickly went viral.

‘At first, I was very confused,’ the photographer said.

‘When I went through my photos in my camera right after the encounter I was looking through my viewfinder and was thinking it’s weird that one of the mantas look pink. It was in the middle of a manta train with seven other mantas.

‘I actually thought my strobes were playing up, making the manta look pink.

‘That was until later that day, I saw on the board at Lady Elliot Island a photo of the pink manta.

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‘It felt amazing because I’d just witnessed it so close. Inspector Clouseau has been spotted less than 10 times since it was first seen in 2015.’

This time around, he was glimpsed with seven other males who were all vying for female attention.

It’s believed his distinctive colour is caused by some sort of genetic mutation which affects the colour of its melanin, a skin pigment. The process which causes this may be similar to albinism in humans.

Reef manta rays tend to come in three different colours: black, white and a combination of the two.

The last mixed configuration is the most common, with rays having dark backs to blend in the gloomy water underneath and a lighter underside to blend with the sunlight.

You might think that being bright pink might put Inspector Clouseau at risk of being eaten by predators, but he’s still very large. Adult rays can weight more than a tonne and are not to be messed with.

Last year, deep-sea divers discovered a bizarre blob monster living in the deepest point of the Indian Ocean.

The strange, jelly-fish creature was glimpsed more than 7km down in the Java Trench.

It’s an ‘extraordinary gelatinous’ beastie thought to be a stalked Ascidean, or sea squirt, that ‘does not resemble anything seen before’.

Dr Alan Jamieson, a Scotsman, is chief scientist of the Five Deeps Expedition

He led the exploration mission and is now believed to have dived deeper into the ocean than any other British citizen in history and became the first to travel beneath 6,000 metres.

‘Amongst many other rare and unique observations, the stalked Ascidean was a really significant moment,’ he said.

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‘It is not often we see something that is so extraordinary that it leaves us speechless. At this point we are not entirely sure what species it was, but we will find out in due course.’

He added: ‘This was a big moment for… science and really demonstrated the scientific capability of the submersible.

‘It has now proven that we can now do more, and access more places, than with any other marine vehicle in the world – including remotely-operated vehicles – at these extreme depths.’