If you love rays, there is no better place to plan your SCUBA diving vacation than the gorgeous state of Florida. There are many types of rays in these warm, tranquil waters just waiting to be ogled, many of which can be observed simply by snorkeling through the reefs. Bring your underwater camera, and get ready to have the time of your life in these ray-rich waters. These are just five beautiful species you’re likely to see in the waters of the Sunshine State, but there are many more types of rays and a wide variety of marine life to enjoy when you choose to dive in Florida’s tropical waters!
Spotted Eagle Ray
This is widely considered one of the most beautiful rays. It is covered in brown and black spots with lighter spots on the dorsal surface. With a wingspan up to 10 feet and weighing as much as 500 pounds, it is easy to identify swimming in large schools. They are often found in shallow inshore waters such as bays, coral reefs and estuaries.
Lesser Electric Ray
Colored grey or reddish-brown, this ray has some interesting markings in the way of rounded dark blotches outlined with blackish circles. It is non-aggressive, but if it feels threatened, it can deliver a shock between 14 and 37 volts. Look for this one in seagrass beds, coral reefs and along sandy shorelines.
Giant Manta Ray
With a wingspan of up to nearly 30 feet and weighing as much as 4,000 pounds, this ray has definitely earned its name. This giant is easily approachable by divers and is often seen swimming slowly near the water’s surface. It can be found near coral and rocky reefs.
This gorgeous ray is silky black on top and white underneath, and it has a wingspan of up to four feet. They are known to swim at fantastic speeds and leap high above the water’s surface. It can be found in shallow coastal waters, bays and open ocean waters.
Its name comes from the fact that it actually has a square snout with a center indentation that resembles that of a cow’s nose. It is brown or olive in color with absolutely no markings of any kind. Its wingspan can reach up to three feet, and it can be found in bays, river mouths and the open ocean.