Spotted Eagle Ray – Profile | Traits | Facts | Breeding | Habitat

spotted eagle ray

The spotted eagle ray, scientific name Aetobatus narinari is a cartilaginous fish of the eagle ray family, Myliobatidae in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.

Spotted Eagle Ray Profile

As historically acknowledged, it’s discovered globally in tropical areas, together with the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. Recent authorities have restricted it to the Atlantic (together with the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico) with different populations acknowledged because of the ocellated eagle ray (A. ocellatus) and Pacific white-spotted eagle ray (A. laticeps).

Spotted eagle rays are mostly seen alone however sometimes swim in teams. They are ovoviviparous, the feminine retaining the eggs then releasing the younger as miniature variations of the parent.

This ray might be recognized by its darkish dorsal floor coated in white spots or rings. Near the bottom of the ray’s comparatively long tail, simply behind the pelvic fins, are a number of venomous, barbed stingers.

Spotted eagle rays generally feed on small fish and crustaceans, and can generally dig with their snouts to search for meals buried within the sand of the ocean bed.

Spotted Eagle Ray

These rays are generally noticed leaping out of the water, and on not less than two events have been reported as having jumped into boats, in a single incident ensuing within the loss of life of a lady within the Florida Keys.

The spotted eagle ray is hunted by all kinds of sharks. The rays are thought of close to threatened on the IUCN Red List.

They are fished primarily in Southeast Asia and Africa, the commonest market being in business commerce and aquariums. They are protected within the Great Barrier Reef.

As historically outlined, spotted eagle rays are discovered globally in tropical areas from the Indo-Pacific area from the western Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the western Atlantic Ocean.

They are present in shallow coastal water by coral reefs and bays, in depths all the way down to 80 meters (262 ft). Spotted eagle rays are present in heat and temperate waters worldwide.

In the western Atlantic Ocean, it’s discovered off the eastern coast of the United States of America, the Gulf Stream, the Caribbean, and down past the southern part of Brazil.

In the Indian Ocean, it’s discovered from the Red Sea all the way down to South Africa and eastward to the Andaman Sea. In the Western Pacific Ocean, it may be discovered close to Japan and north of Australia.

In the Central Pacific Ocean, it may be discovered all through the Hawaiian Islands. In the Eastern-Pacific Ocean, it’s discovered within the Gulf of California down by means of Puerto Pizarro, a space that features the Galapagos Islands.

Spotted eagle rays are mostly seen in bays and reefs. They spend a lot of their time swimming freely in open waters, usually in colleges near the floor, and might travel long distances in a day.

Within these areas, there are important variations in genetics and morphology. As a consequence, the latest authorities have cut up it into three: This restricts the true spotted eagle ray (A. narinari) to the Atlantic, whereas the Indo-Pacific inhabitants is the ocellated eagle ray (A. ocellatus) and the East Pacific is the Pacific white-spotted eagle ray (A. laticeps).

Spotted Eagle Ray Description

Spotted eagle rays have flat disk-shaped bodies, deep blue or black with white spots on top with a white underbelly, and distinctive flat snouts just like a duck’s bill.

Their tails are longer than these of different rays and will have 2–6 venomous spines, simply behind the pelvic fins. The front half of the long and wing-like pectoral disk has 5 small gills in its underside.

Mature spotted eagle rays might be as much as 5 meters (16 ft) in size; the biggest has a wingspan of as much as 3 meters (10 ft) and a mass of 230 kilograms (507 lb).

Spotted Eagle Ray

Spotted Eagle Ray Feeding and diet

Spotted eagle ray preys primarily upon bivalves, crabs, whelks, benthic infauna additionally they feed on mollusks, crustaceans, significantly malacostracans. and in addition to hermit crabs, shrimp, octopuses, and a few small fish.

The spotted eagle ray’s specialized chevron-shaped tooth construction helps it to crush the mollusks’ onerous shells.

The jaws of those rays have developed calcified struts to assist them to break by means of the shells of mollusks, by supporting the jaws and stopping dents from onerous prey. These rays have the distinctive behavior of digging with their snouts within the sand of the ocean.

While doing this, a cloud of sand surrounds the ray and sand spews from its gills. One examination has proven that there aren’t any variations within the feeding habits of men and women or in rays from completely different areas of Australia and Taiwan.

Spotted Eagle Ray Behavior

Spotted eagle rays favor swimming in waters of 24 to 27 °C (75 to 81 °F). Their each day’s motion is influenced by the tides; one monitoring examination confirmed that they’re more lively throughout high tides.

Uniquely amongst rays, they dig with their snouts within the sand, surrounding themselves in a cloud of sand that spews from their gills.

They additionally exhibit two motions wherein the stomach and the pectoral fins are moved quickly up and down: the pelvic thrust and the intense pelvic thrust. The pelvic thrust is often carried out by a solitary ray and repeated 4 to 5 occasions quickly.

The excessive pelvic thrust is mostly noticed when the ray is swimming in a gaggle, from which it is going to separate itself before vigorously thrusting with its pectoral fins.

The rays additionally carry out dips and jumps; in a dip, the ray will dive after which come back up quickly, maybe as many as 5 occasions consecutively.

There are two important kinds of leap: in a single, the ray propels itself vertically out of the water, to which it returns alongside the same line; the opposite is when the ray leaps at a 45-degree angle, typically repeated a number of occasions at high speeds.

When in shallow waters or exterior their regular swimming areas the rays are mostly seen alone, however, they do additionally congregate in colleges.

One type of touring known as unfastened aggregation, which is when three to sixteen rays are swimming in an unfastened group, with occasional interactions between them. A school generally consists of six or more rays swimming within the same path at precisely the same pace.

Spotted Eagle Ray Predators and parasites

The silvertip shark is a predator of the spotted eagle ray.

Spotted eagle rays, in common with many different rays, typically fall sufferer to sharks such because the tiger shark, the lemon shark, the bull shark, the silvertip shark, and the great hammerhead shark.

A great hammerhead shark has been noticed attacking a spotted eagle ray in open water by taking a big chunk out of considered one of its pectoral fins, thus incapacitating the ray.

The shark then used its head to pin the ray to the underside and pivoted to take the ray in its jaws, head first. Sharks have additionally been noticed to comply with feminine rays in the course of the birthing season, and feed on the new child pups.

Like different rays, spotted eagle rays are host to a wide range of parasites. Internal parasites embody the gnathostomatid nematode Echinocephalus sinensis within the spiral gut.

External parasites embody the monocotylid monogeneans Decacotyle octona, Decacotyle elpora, and Thaumatocotyle pseudodasybatis on the gills.

Spotted Eagle Ray Reproduction

One male, or generally a number of, will pursue a feminine. When one of many males approaches the feminine, he makes use of his higher jaw to seize her dorsum.

The male will then roll the feminine over by grabbing considered one of her pectoral fins, that are positioned on both side of her body.

Once he’s on her ventral aspect, the male places a clasper into the feminine, connecting them venter to venter, with each underside collectively. The mating process lasts for 30–90 seconds.

The spotted eagle ray develops ovoviviparous; the eggs are retained within the feminine and hatch internally, feeding off a yolk sac till live birth.

After a gestation interval of 1 year, the mom ray will give birth to most of the 4 pups. When the pups are first born, their discs measure from 17–35 centimeters (6.7–13.8 in) throughout. The rays mature in 4 to six years.

spotted eagle ray

Spotted Eagle Ray Conservation

The spotted eagle ray is included within the IUCN’s Red List as “near threatened”. The rays are caught primarily in Southeast Asia and Africa. They are additionally frequent within the business marine life commerce and are displayed in aquariums.

Among the many efforts to assist defend this species, South Africa’s decision to deploy fewer protecting shark nets has lowered the variety of deaths attributable to entanglement.

South Africa has additionally positioned restrictions on the variety of rays that may be purchased per particular person per day.

In the U.S. state of Florida, the fishing, landing, buying, and buying and selling of spotted eagle rays are outlawed. This ray can also be protected within the Great Barrier Reef on the eastern coast of Australia.

In Europe, there’s a breeding program (ESB) for spotted eagle rays to cut back the quantity of wild-caught people wanted by public aquaria. From the start to 2018 Burgers’ Zoo saved the studbook.

Since 2018 Wroclaw zoo is the brand new studbook keeper. Burgers’ Zoo was additionally the first place in Europe to breed with the species and in 2018 was essentially the most profitable breeder worldwide with over 55 births.

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