Counting Rays: Aerial Surveys Reveal Ample Populations in Southeast Florida

A unique long-term study quantified the abundance of whitespotted eagle and giant manta rays in Southeast Florida. Researchers conducted 120 survey flights between 2014 and 2021 from Miami north to the Jupiter Inlet. One or both species were seen on nearly every flight and both populations appear to be stable in the region. The giant manta rays were more abundant in the south and the whitespotted eagle rays were found all along the coast. Neither species seems to be deterred by the greater human population density in Fort Lauderdale/ Miami.