Summary: Email forward claims that attached photographs show a mass migration of rays in the Gulf of Mexico (Full commentary below).
Example:(Submitted, March 2009)
Subject: FW: Stingray Migration, Gulf Of Mexico
Mass Migration of Golden Cow-nose rays
Looking like giant leaves floating in the sea, thousands of Golden Rays are seen here gathering off the coast of Mexico . The spectacular scene was captured as the magnificent creatures made one of their biannual mass migrations to more agreeable waters.
Gliding silently beneath the waves, they turned vast areas of blue water to gold off the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula. Sandra Critelli, an amateur photographer, stumbled across the phenomenon while looking for whale sharks.
She said: 'It was an unreal image, very difficult to describe. The surface of the water was covered by warm and different shades of gold and looked like a bed of autumn leaves gently moved by the wind.
Don't forget to share this with others! Let your friends enjoy the beauty of nature, too!
According to this message, a series of attached images depict a mass migration of rays in the Gulf of Mexico. Although quite extraordinary, the images are genuine photographs and they depict a real event.
As the message claims, the pictures were snapped by photographer Sandra Critelli during a boating expedition off the coast of Mexico. These amazing photographs have been published on many websites, blogs and forums and have also been featured in a number of news and nature publications. The photographs can also be viewed on Sandra Critelli's own website.
Cownose rays do indeed migrate in large numbers. A page about cownose rays published on the Monterey Bay Aquarium website notes:
Cownose rays are known for their long migrations in large schools. They are strong swimmers, able to cover long distances. In the Atlantic Ocean, their migration is northward in the late spring and southward in the late fall. The population in the Gulf of Mexico migrates in schools of as many as 10,000 rays, clockwise from western Florida to the Yucatan in Mexico