|Look at how long the tail is compared with the body|
Spotted eagle rays—what a beautiful and impressive sight when you’re underwater. With wingspans of to eight feet or more, you never miss seeing them when they’re passing, trailed by a slender tail that’s more than twice as long as the length of the ray’s body. They’re not usually shy (unless you chase them with a camera), swimming right by or under you. They feed on mollusks, and we’ve watched them snuff through sand or seagrass in search of a meal, accompanied by fish that dart in to pick off any little critters that the ray stirs up. Like sharks, spotted eagle rays often have remoras or sharksuckers hanging off of them. Also like sharks, rays have cartilage rather than bones, which contributes to their flexibility and makes them so graceful in their movement, it’s like they’re flying through the water when they slowly flap their great wings. Though many rays are a rather bland gray, spotted eagle rays on top are dark brown with beige or white markings—lines, circles, arcs—in fantastic patterns, and bright white below. Just beautiful!
|Beautiful color patterns on this spotted eagle ray that we sighted at St. John, USVI|
|Spotted eagle ray with a shark sucker on its white underside|