Friday, March 29, 2013

Creature Feature: Spotted Eagle Ray

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


  1. Everyone of your pics is more amazing than the last, you guys. Wow, just beautiful. Thanks for posting, and for the education!

  2. Just my way of passing on my fascination with the natural world!

  3. great photos - thanks for sharing your great sighting! Glad you are having a great time in the Caribbean. We are now on the hard and hard at work hoping to put back in the water in another week as not sure if our backs can take more of working under the boat - the fun parts of cruising - luckily they aren't as long as the enjoyable part of cruising!
    Fair Winds!