Aetobatus narinari Species ID:
A diamond-shaped ray with large triangular pectoral fins (1) and a large head and snout (2). The eyes and spiracles (which pump water to the gills) are located on the sides of the head. Two small pelvic fins flank the long, whip-like tail (3) which bears stinging spines. The back is grey to dark brown and covered in small white spots or rings (4), while the belly is pale. Males are distinguished by their external sex organs – small, fingerlike projections called ‘claspers’ found on the ends of the pelvic fins. Juveniles resemble adults Maximum Size:
2.3 m (7.5 ft) disk diameter Longevity:
Unknown, but likely up to 19 years based on the longevity of other eagle rays. Status:
Near threatened according to the IUCN endangered species list Spotted Eagle Rays & People:
This species is eaten locally, but not commercially important. They are considered a pest in mariculture, and are sometimes killed to prevent them from feeding on farmed shellfish
Found throughout the world’s tropical oceans Coral Reef Zone:
Found in the back reef, fore reef and drop-off zones, and also the open ocean Favourite Habitat:
Spotted eagle rays feed over sandy bottoms, but often move to offshore surface waters to rest, socialize, and reproduce Depth:
1–80 m ( 3–260 ft)
A Day in The Life:
The spotted eagle ray does not follow the regular day/night cycle of most creatures, but instead follows a routine set by the tides.
High tide: Eagle rays forage for food and socialize on sand flats; mating may also occur
Falling tide: Foraging activity tails off and eagle rays begin to move offshore
Low tide: Eagle rays rest offshore, often in groups
Rising tide: Eagle rays begin to move inshore towards feeding areas
Who Eats Who?
The spotted eagle ray is a carnivore that specializes in eating hard-shelled prey such as snails, clams, crabs, and lobster, as well as octopuses and occasionally fishes. Eagle rays are large and potentially dangerous prey, and are fed on by only the largest coral reef predators, such as tiger, bull, lemon, and hammerhead sharks.
Scuba Diver & Snorkeler Best Practices
Participate in environmental initiatives. Participate in underwater cleanup projects and public education efforts whenever possible. These initiatives make a huge difference to the coral reef, and help spread word of eco-diving best practices.