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Large group of rays show up at DNR marine center in Charleston

A large group of rays showed up at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources marine...
A large group of rays showed up at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources marine center in Charleston. DNR officials said it happened earlier this week and involved a group of cownose rays schooling at the department’s boat slip.(E. Weeks/SCDNR)
Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 10:24 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A large group of rays showed up at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources marine center in Charleston. DNR officials said it happened earlier this week and involved a group of cownose rays schooling at the department’s boat slip on James Island.

“We asked SCDNR shark biologist Bryan Frazier what the rays were doing. The scientific consensus? They’re a bunch of teenagers hanging out,” authorities said.

According to officials, in the summer, millions of these rays migrate from Florida to the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, where they mate and give birth; like their shark relatives, rays give birth to live young, typically one pup at a time.

“That party has already begun, so Frazier said this is likely a group of younger, nonbreeding rays that will stay in South Carolina for the summer,” DNR officials said.

DNR officials said cownose rays school in large groups when feeding or ‘hanging out’ between the tides as they wait to forage.

“They’re a shy species that tends to avoid humans, so they’re rarely responsible for stings,” DNR officials said. “At low tide, they’ve been spotted behind our marine lab feeding on clams, oysters and small crustaceans along the shoreline.”

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