Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Spotted Eagle Ray

Aetobatus narinari
The Spotted Eagle Ray can be found swimming in coastal tropical waters around the world. Sometimes they even swim upstream into estuaries! These large Rays live in groups thaw swim close to the surface of the water. They can even leap out completely if they are threatened!

Spotted Eagle Rays are considered to be one of the most beautiful Rays. They have very angular wings and an amazing spotted pattern that covers the entire dorsal area. Their skin is smooth and does not posses the denticles that are sometimes found in Rays. Spotted Eagle Rays also  have incredibly long tails, which have venomous spines on them. When you include their tail length, these Rays can measure as long as 16.5ft (5m)!

Eagle Rays get their name from their beak-like mouths. They have have a single row of flat teeth in their upper and lower jaws, and these help them to open and crush shellfish. They also consume cephalopods, crustaceans, and fish.

Spotted Eagle Rays are listed as Near Threatened because they live in close proximity to a wide range of fishing gear. The fact that they have very small litter sizes and tend to live in large groups also makes it easy for populations to swiftly decline and rebound slowly.

IUCN Status : Near Threatened
Location : Tropical Oceans
Size : Wingspan up to 10ft (3m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Chondrichthyes -- Order : Myliobatiformes
Family : Myliobatidae -- Genus : Aetobatus -- Species : A. narinari

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