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Today we will tell you facts about spotted eagle rays.
The spotted eagle ray is an imposing and beautiful animal that often enraptures Dressel Divers guests in the Caribbean. Sometimes we see a specimen skimming along the sandbanks. Sometimes they fly over our heads in schools of rays, as if they were eagles instead of fish and we, divers, were just passers-by.
However, the eagle ray is a great unknown beyond its winged body and spotted pattern. In this article, we address this point so that we can enjoy them more the next time we see a specimen. Take a look at the summary.
1. Scientific Name for Spotted Eagle Ray
The spotted eagle ray is known by different common names such as White-spotted eagle ray. Venezuelans call them “chuchos” and in Ecuador, they are known as painted rays. However, the scientific name for this type of ray is Aetobatus narinari of the family Myliobatidae.
The eagle ray belongs to the superorder of Batoids. There are more than 500 known species divided into thirteen different families. Our sea eagles belong to the suborder Rajiform.
White Eagle Ray Body Facts
2. Spotted Eagle Ray Size
Among the most significant White-spotted eagle ray facts, we find its cartilaginous skeleton and its rhomboidal body, which constitutes a rather complex system. A specimen can measure up to 19.68 feet (6 m), including the tail, and reach a maximum wingspan of 9.8 feet (3 m) from fin to fin. Body is usually twice as wide as it is long. An eagle ray can weigh up to 507 pounds (230 kg). Another point, the females are larger than the males.
Their large size does not make them clumsy animals, quite the contrary. The white-spotted eagle ray is a graceful and fast swimmer, which can make several leaps in a row over the surface of the sea and soar high into the air.
3. Facts About Eagle Spotted Ray Skin
Another interesting eagle ray fact is the drawings on its skin. The dorsal surface is dark and is full of white spots or rings. We could say that this pattern is like each specimen its fingerprint. There are no two equals.
The dorsal side (dark color and unique spotted pattern) helps the eagle ray camouflage itself on the reef when a shark (its only predator) sees it from above. When viewed from the ventral side, the light color of the belly disappears against the ocean surface.
4. White Eagle Spotted Ray Nose Facts
This kind of stingray has a short-rounded face and laterally set eyes. Its nose is very impressive. The animal uses it as a tool to search for food. They can even turn over rocks with it. This appendix is full of electro-sensory pores that work as a kind of radar. Thus, they locate their prey hidden under the fine sand at the bottom.
5. What about Spotted Eagle Stingrays Teeth?
When they find them, the rows of interlocking teeth on their upper and lower jaws do a good job on them. They work like a mortar capable of destroying the hardest shells. It’s like carrying a built-in can opener.
Spotted Eagle Ray Interesting Facts About Its Habitat and Behavior
6. Where Do Eagle Rays Live
We can find specimens of eagle rays in shallow coastal water by coral reefs and bays, in depths down to 80 meters / 263 feet all over the world. Its habitat is found in virtually all waters of the tropics: in the Atlantic, including the Gulf of Mexico, Africa, the west coast of the Pacific and Hawaii, and the Indian Ocean.
In other words, they prefer to swim in warm waters from 24 to 27 ° C (75 to 81 ° F).
It is possible to find them alone or in large and small groups. Eagle rays prefer to travel this way, but this is a relationship of convenience. They form temporary communities in which their members are not very close. The school of white spotted stingray swims in the same direction and at the same speed, yes, but they have only occasional interactions. This way of moving is called loose aggregation.
7. What Do Spotted Eagle Rays Eat?
Spotted eagle rays feed on small mollusks, clams, snails, and hermit crabs. Occasionally, these spotted rays eat lobsters, octopus, and small fish.
Some studies indicate that the spotted rays’ behavior is influenced by the tides, being more active in food searching during high tides and resting offshore at low tide.
8. Spotted Eagle Ray Lifespan
The eagle stingrays’ lifespan is 25 years, they reach sexual maturity between 4 and 6 years old.
9. Common Eagle Ray Mating
The mating ritual of the eagle ray is in the summer months and is also very interesting. The males chase the female, and when a male catches a female (a privilege usually achieved by the strongest and fastest male), it grabs the female with the mouth and turns her over, pulling on her pectoral fins. This abrupt maneuver often results in injuries to the female.
Subsequently, the couple of eagle rays are joined belly to belly with the two lower parts together. Insemination takes a few seconds, estimated at 30 seconds to a minute and a half. Some studies suggest that the female must undergo this process up to 4 times before fertilization is complete and gestation begins.
The spotted eagle ray is oviparous. The eggs mature and hatch inside the mother, but they do not feed on her. The young in gestation feed on the yolk of the eggs until they are mature, hatch from the egg, and the female bears them.
These animals have an incredible adaptation capacity. The eagle ray gestation period is about one year. However, this time may vary depending on environmental conditions. There have been gestation cases as short as 8 months. In a single birth, the mother eagle ray can give birth to 1 to 4 young.
Other Curious Facts About Eagle Rays
10. Why Do Rays Jump Out of The Water?
Scientists disagree when it comes to finding an explanation for this phenomenon and consider different hypotheses.
- They consider it a form of courtship that shows the females the better males.
- They believe that it helps white spotted stingray get rid of remoras and parasites.
- Maybe it’s a homing system. Scientists think that when eagle rays jump together, they could indicate their position to isolated individuals. This theory points to a group jumping makes a sound heard miles away.
- Because jumping out of the water is fun for them.
11. Do Eagle Rays Sting?
The main difference between a stingray and a manta ray is the sting on its tail.
Manta rays lack this sting. The sea eagle ray is a stingray, and its tail ends in a spine that contains a toxic substance. This substance is not fatal to humans, although it is painful. Spotted rays are peaceful and only use their stinger when they are attacked.
12. Are spotted eagle stingrays threatened?
Spotted eagle stingrays are not endangered. The most recent assessment carried out by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) was in 2006, classified eagle rays as “Near Threatened” on the Red List of Threatened Species.
The main reason for this threat is not the consumption of white spotted stingray meat, which does not have great value on the market. However, eagle rays are large seafood consumers, and the latter has high value on human tables. That is the reason for their indiscriminate hunting.
13. The most famous blue and white spotted eagle stingrays: “Mr. Ray”
Mr Ray, the stingray from Finding Nemo is a blue and white spotted eagle ray. Mr. Ray is the teacher of Nemo’s class. He’s the jolliest science teacher, which carries his little students on his back and sings little ditties for them to remember the lesson. Do you remember this character?
Now that we’ve had fun learning all these spotted eagle ray facts, it’s time to see them face to face. Contact us!
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