Beautiful bat rays spotted at San Diego’s Scripps Pier on day when La Jolla sets new ocean temperature record

Bay rays swim near the surface Thursday at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
(Chase Martin/Scripps Oceanography)

Once again, a new ocean temperature has been set at UC San Diego’s Scripps Pier.

The sea surface temperature reached 79.5 degrees on Thursday, the highest reading in the 102 year history of the pier, according to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

And the record was set on a day when Scripps Oceanography photographed a large school of bat rays near the pier.

Bat rays are common in local waters. But they’re not always easily visible, and their movements aren’t entirely understood. Thursday’s gathering might not even be related to the warm waters.

“Since I have been at Scripps, I have seen congregations of bat rays swimming in the vicinity of the pier. Most of the individuals seem to be juveniles,” said Dan Cartamil, a Scripps Oceanography shark biologist.

“They used to be extremely common around 2004-2006, and then for a while I didn’t see many, and the last couple of years I have been seeing them again. I couldn’t say whether there have been more this summer, since I haven’t been on the pier very much.

“However, given their occurrence throughout the years in all kinds of conditions, there is probably insufficient evidence to link their recent presence to warm temps. In fact, we really don’t have much info about their reasons for congregating at this spot.”

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