Fishes and rays


French Polynesia is one of the largest marine territories of the planet. Its tropical islands and its turquoise lagoons attract thousands of tourists every year. Ray-feeding was introduced on the north-west coast of Moorea in 1994 and is today one of our visitors’ favourite destination.


This activity that allows tourists to interact with sting rays has grown popular rapidly and is today a must do of every lagoon tour. Feeding area dedicated to tourism activities have been created by tour operators and are now fixed time daily gathering places for rays.

Ray feeding à MooreaMeanwhile, very few studies have been conducted on pink whiprays (Himantura fai). The identification of the species itself was done quite recently.

Rays encounter is guaranteed during each tour and are subject to numerous questions that have not been answered yet (longevity, reproduction, feeding, population, etc…).


The research work done by Dr. Cécile Gaspar during her scientific study (PhD) on pink whiprays helped to find answers to some of these questions, and then to share with the public and touristic operators, the knewly acquired knowledge.









A practical guide
on pink whiprays

Cécile Gapsar, president of te mana o te moana, carried out a scientific research on pink whiprays Himantura fai in the north-west of Moorea lagoon from 2004 to 2007 for her PhD dissertation. She collected much data on these fish which were not studied a lot before.

Cécile wished to share with local actors the results of her scientific study. Thus appeared the practical guide on pink whiprays created by te mana o te moana.

This guide broaches various subjects: anatomy, genetics and the impact of ray feeding on their natural behavior. Popularizing the scientific results of the research, this guide will help tourist operators involved in ray feeding to become educators and to take part in conservation of this species.

This guide addresses any person willing to learn more on this fascinating animal.

Download the Guide on pink whiprays (in French)





A PhD dissertation
on pink whiprays


Cécile Gaspar, the president of te mana o te moana association, defended a PhD dissertation on pink whiprays (Himantura fai) at the University of French Polynesia, in October 2008.

This dissertation ended several years of research work on pink whiprays, and Cécile Gaspar was awarded her PhD with distinction from both the University of French Polynesia and the Practical School of High Studies (EPHE) – Insular Research Center and Environment Observatory (CRIOBE).

Cécile Gaspar had previously been awarded with a PhD degree with distinction in Veterinary medicine, in 1991. She conducted at the time a study comparing physiology of apnea between Dolphins and Humans.


The study of Cécile Gaspar encompasses human, cultural, and economic issues associated with the ray feeding activity in Moorea lagoon.


She presented tracking survey results and her study on genetic structure of this ray species population amongst 4 Polynesian archipelagos.


The results of this study also contribute to the “stingray feeding guideline” included in the Moorea Marine Space Management Plan created since 2004.





Public conferences
on pink whiprays


Since her PhD dissertation in October 2008, Cécile Gaspar regularly gives conferences on pink whiprays, presenting the main conclusions of her research work.

These fascinating animals, still very mysterious (not much is known on pink whiprays’ breeding), keep on fascinating sea lovers, and many questions arise during each presentation.

>> More information on our Conferences and Trainings





This post is also available in: French