It's mating season in the "big blue" for the cownose ray. This migration of cownose rays near Anna Maria Island is inspiring and a bit off-putting for would-be swimmers.
This large school of rays was caught on camera by Captain Scott Moore of Moore Fishing Charters. They numbered in the thousands and are a cool sight to see. The only regret is that the video isn't clearer. However, it still shows crowd of rays very obviously.
The cownose ray is a form of stingray and can be dangerous if threatened. However, unlike most dangerous rays, they do not bury themselves in the sand. They use their fins to move the sand around in search of mollusks to eat.
Males can grow up to 35" across and weigh as much as 26 pounds. Whereas females tend to be smaller and measure in at around 28".
These rays tend to be easily seen around the world at aquariums in their "touch tanks". Docile by nature, they make great tools for teaching about sea life.
The cownose ray is native to most of the western Atlantic and ranges from New England to Brazil. Thousands migrate every year from the Gulf of Mexico to Venezuela. They can live up to 18 years in the area of the Gulf of Mexico. Open ocean groups tend to have shorter lifespans.