Manta ray swims off Shell Key, FL

- A team of environmental scientists from Tampa Bay Watch was thrilled to capture video of a manta ray swimming off Shell Key as they were working last week.

The ray, which is federally protected, appeared to be 8 to 9 feet wide. 

The team was in the process of doing boat safety drills on the catamaran that they use on school field trips for their environmental education program, said Rachel Arndt of Tampa Bay Watch.

At first, they thought it was a dolphin, but they realized when they got closer it was a large manta ray. 

"Our staff were beyond thrilled to have had the experience of seeing the manta ray, which was a bucket list item for all of them!" said Arndt.

WATCH VIDEO BELOW (mobile users click here):

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