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There are many spotted eagle ray facts, which are not very well known, and yet these animals often take our breath away with their beauty. In this article, we are going to learn more about this beautiful dive buddy.
There are at least 14 families of rays, and yes, the spotted eagle ray is in the same family as the manta ray. The main difference between one and the other is the eagle rays’ tail ends in a thorn that contains a toxic substance, although it is not deadly for humans.
The Spotted Eagle Ray Facts: its body
The scientific name for the spotted eagle ray is Aetobatus narinari, from the subfamily Myliobatidae. Among the most significant spotted eagle ray facts, we find its rhomboidal body, which constitutes a rather complex system. A specimen can measure up to 16.4 feet (5 m), including the tail, weigh 507 pounds (230 kg) and reach a maximum wingspan of 9.8 feet (3 m) from fin to fin. Another point, the females are larger than the males.
Their large size does not make them clumsy animals, quite the contrary. The 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.
Another interesting spotted 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.
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. 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.
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.
Keep in mind that small fish, clams, snails, and hermit crabs are the spotted eagle ray´s food. It’s like carrying a built-in can opener.
The Spotted Eagle Ray Facts: life and habitat
We can find specimens of eagle rays all over the world, practically in all the waters of the tropics, in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. In other words, they prefer to swim in warm waters from 24 to 27 ° C (75 to 81 ° F). Some studies indicate that the spotted eagle rays’ behavior is influenced by the tides, being more active during high tides.
It is possible to find them alone or in large and small groups. Although they prefer to travel in this way, they do it in a characteristic manner. The truth is that these temporary communities are not very close. Despite the fact, the members of the group swim in the same direction and at the same speed, they have only occasional interactions. This way of moving is called loose aggregation.
The mating ritual of the spotted eagle ray is also very interesting. The males chase the female. When one of them catches up with her (a privilege that is usually achieved by the strongest and fastest one), it grabs the female with the mouth and turns her over, pulling on her pectoral fins. Later, males and females join belly to belly with the two lower parts joined. Insemination lasts a few seconds. It is estimated that between 30 seconds and a minute and a half.
The spotted eagle ray is oviparous. The eggs hatch inside the mother, who feeds the unborn young through a yolk sac until they are developed enough to hatch. The gestation period lasts a year, and deliveries do not usually exceed four babies.
Spotted eagle rays are considered a threatened animal and are on the IUCN Red List.
After reading this article, you know much more about spotted eagle ray facts, so the next time you come across a specimen, you will even enjoy more of your encounter with these ocean angels.