Ten male manatees with love on their minds pursued a female to shallow waters off Longboat Key, drawing a crowd of curious humans.
"It's cool and funny at the same time," said Megan Blasberg, 11, who was among the crowd that gathered to watch the spectacle Thursday. "They're all like fighting with each other."
Julie Gundersen with the Manatee Research Project at Mote Marine Laboratory, said manatees usually mate out at sea. She said the female probably came to shallow waters to rest and her suitors followed.
Manatees don't have a specific mating season, but Mote has responded to five reports of manatees in shallow waters over the past month. That's more than usual.
The manatees spotted Thursday afternoon were all West Indian manatees weighing from 900 to 2,000 pounds, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported.
Gundersen said female manatees travel long distances to collect as many male suitors as possible to give them a wide choice of mates.