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Monitoring   Manta Catalog

SHARK & RAY VIDEOS

Below are several video clips that highlight some of the most notable elasmobranchs (rays and sharks) seen in the sanctuary.

To view a video, simply click on play button (>) in the video controller at the bottom of the window. A brief description of each video is provided below the window.

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Rays (Aetobatus narinari, Manta birostris, Dasyatis americana, Dasyatis centroura)

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Spotted eagle rays (Aetobatus narinari) school in the sanctuary during the winter, but can be seen in pairs or singly throughout the year. This video starts with separate shots of a single spotted eagle ray swimming above the reef at one of the Flower Garden Banks. Later shots show individual eagle rays swimming above the flats and pinnacles of Stetson Bank.

Manta rays (Manta birostris) are also regular visitors to the sanctuary and often seen by divers. Each animal can be identified by the unique spot pattern on its underbelly, a feature which has allowed us to document over 60 individuals in the sanctuary, so far. To learn more about how we track and identify manta rays, please visit our Manta Catalog. Can you identify each of the mantas in this video using the catalog?

While eagle rays and manta rays spend most of their time cruising above the reef, other types of rays prefer the sea floor. Both southern (Dasyatis americana) and roughtail stingrays (Dasyatis centroura) can be seen in sand patches and valleys at the banks. They often flick sand on top of themselves to help with camouflage. Roughtail stingrays can get quite large, as seen in the clip showing a diver kneeling alongside one with a video camera. (2:25)

Credit: FGBNMS/Hickerson, Schmahl, DeBose
and Kip Evans Photography

Sharks (Sphyrna lewini, Rhincodon typus, Carcharhinus sp.)

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Scalloped hammerheads (Sphyrna lewini), duskies, silkies, tiger sharks, nurse sharks, and whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) have all been seen in the sanctuary. We haven't yet captured video footage of them all, but we're trying.

This video shows scalloped hammerheads as they school above the reefs in winter, individual carcharinid sharks swimming above the reef, day and night, and huge, but graceful, whale sharks gliding by the camera lens. These animals are amazing! (1:30)

To learn more about whale sharks, in particular, visit our Whale Shark Connections page.

Credit: FGBNMS/Hickerson, Schmahl, Weaver



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