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Rays-Sting or Manta

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Cincinnati, OH
posts: 40
reviews: 34
Rays-Sting or Manta

Lots of rays in the surf just east of Fr Morgan this morning!! Dolphins jumping too!! Wonderful sights for our grandchildren!

posts: 327
reviews: 52
1. Re: Rays-Sting or Manta

My guess is the rays that you saw were butterfly or cow rays, they have been pretty thick since April. Butterfly rays have VERY short tails (meaning, that the risk of getting hit with by a "stinger" is very very low). Cow rays, eagle rays, and mantas all have long tales. The latter two are generally darker in color on top, very dark grey to black, and often jump out of the water -- pretty amazing when you get to see it. Stingrays like the bottom more and tend not to jump out of the water. They also don't have as wing-like fins as the other rays.

The best way to identify the Mantas is to look for the "fins" that come out from in front of their face that help direct food into their mouths.

So, more than likely the rays that you are seeing, especially if they are free swimming nearer the surface are the less harmful rays. That said, just remember that they are wild animals and deserve their distance. Oh, and as a side note, they are a favorite food of Bull Sharks, so when their are lots of rays and no dolphins, that's when I take a break from swimming and enjoy watching them from the comfort of my beach chair.

posts: 1
2. Re: Rays-Sting or Manta

I am at pretty much exactly the same location -- just east of Fort Morgan, and have seen lots of rays here in the shallow waters over the last couple of days. Stingrays have barbs about halfway up their tails. These don't have the barbs, and have two manta-ray-like protrusions out front. I've been looking to see if I can figure out exactly what kind of rays these are. They seem too small to be mantas, which get quite large. My best guess so far is that they may be what are called lesser devil rays. In any event they are very pretty and graceful creatures.

posts: 324
reviews: 28
3. Re: Rays-Sting or Manta

We saw them when we were there in Oct. At first I was a big startled as for some reason I'd never seen them before in all our years of visiting the Gulf Coast, but then I started enjoying watching them glide through the water and occasioanlly jump! They really were very peaceful to watch.

posts: 327
reviews: 52
4. Re: Rays-Sting or Manta

John I think you are right on the money with your identification. Great job noticing the absence of the big barb. The rays are really amazing and mesmerizing.

Poteau, Oklahoma
posts: 1
reviews: 5
5. Re: Rays-Sting or Manta

I just got back from Gulf Shores / Fort Morgan. One day we saw rays everwhere on the sand bar. They were dark in color and easy to spot either swimming by themselves or in groups of 3 or more. I happened to catch one on a rod and reel. (I released it unharmed). It put up quite a fight. It's mouth, i noticed was large and in front and not on the bottom and had two bulbous bumps on its head. So, one might think it was some sort of manta ray and not a sting ray. But it DID have a 3" barb at the base of it's tail. Does anybody know what it was?

Gulf Shores, Alabama
posts: 933
reviews: 415
6. Re: Rays-Sting or Manta

You most likely saw Devil Rays which we have in abundance. They are true mantas and not common sting rays.

7. Re: Rays-Sting or Manta

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