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Huge stingray nursery discovered off Florida

The United States The large number of young stingrays that appear in the South Florida waters make scientists believe that the waters have an important nursery.

An immature Manta has appeared off the coast of South Florida. Photo: National Geographic.

During an expedition on the Juno coast in Florida looking for traces of endangered turtles, biologist Jessica Pate stumbled across a “giant black shadow” moving through shallow water. On closer inspection, she was shocked to realize it was a crutch, or Manta, the largest stingray genus in existence.

Pate said he had swum with these giant creatures in Hawaii and Indonesia, but had never seen them in crowded coastal South Florida. Lured by the surprise encounter, the biologist spent more than three years, from 2016 to 2019, surveying the area and uncovering a total of 59 Manta rays.

“We have seen giant stingrays swimming near President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort or Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville hotel. Many residents living in coastal condominiums have also reported. about their occurrence during a pandemic, “Pate said.

Two other Manta fish appear in shallow waters in South Florida. Photo: National Geographic.

The special thing is that 95% of rays found are immature. Pate et al. Did not find any mating scars in females, while males had a small genital size.

The team concludes that there is a nursery that has existed in the South Florida waters for many years. This area is rich in food and few predators, allowing the young stingray to grow safely. This is the third Manta stingray nursery discovered in the world, alongside two other nurseries in Indonesia and the Gulf of Mexico.

“Very little is known about crutches, such as where they were born, their mate selection behavior, or their longevity. species conservation scientist, “Pate emphasized.

The Manta Stingray genus includes two species: the sea crutch (Manta birostris) and the coral crutches (Manta alfredi). Both are in danger of extinction due to fishing practices and habitat pollution.

Details of the research have been published in the journal Endangered Species Research.

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