Huge manta rays probably drawn to Jacksonville coast by quest for food, says JU’s Quinton White

Dr. Quinton White, JU Marine Science Research Institute executive director

Often mistaken from a distance for sharks or dolphins, manta rays caused quite a stir in the Atlantic Ocean off Jacksonville Beach over the Labor Day weekend. There were a lot of them — and many were huge, Jacksonville Pier visitors told Action News Jax (WTEV CBS-47 and WAWS Fox-30) in a Sunday, Sept. 2 report.

Dr. Quinton White, the Jacksonville University Marine Science Research Institute executive director, told Action News that he thinks cooler water temperatures have resulted in the proliferation of manta rays in the area. Closely related to sharks, manta rays have a short tail, no stinging spine and are relatively harmless.

“I think the mantas are coming here following the food,” White said.

Here is the Action News article online; here is the video report:

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