Taken off the coast of Mexico’s Holbox Island by amateur photographer Sandra Critelli, these breathtaking pictures capture the migration of thousands of golden stingrays as they glide from Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula to western Florida.
Measuring up to 6ft 6in across, poisonous golden cow-nose rays migrate in groups – or ‘fevers’ – of up to 10,000 strong as they swim their way towards their summer feeding grounds.
They go on the move twice per year: north in late spring and south in late autumn. Despite their placid looks, they are still armed with a poisonous stinger, which can be deadly to humans (even though sharks, their main predators, are more likely to provoke them).
In one sense, it’s a terrifying sight… but in another, it’s strangely beautiful and indicative of nature’s fascinating patterns.
The stinger, a razor-sharp spine that grows from the creature’s whip-like tail, can reach almost 15 inches in length and carries a heady dose of venom. It was a similar stinger that killed the hugely popular Australian naturalist Steve Irwin in 2006.
The creatures are peaceful and feed on plankton, the smallest living organisms in the ocean. Though they have the ability to cause harm to humans, many scuba dive with the giant rays every year. The experience is altogether unforgettable.
Check out footage of their amazing migration in the video below. Nature is totally amazing!
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