The spotted eagle ray is very distinctive with a flattened body and triangular corners to the wing-like pectoral fins(2). The snout is rounded and pointed at the tip, so that it resembles a bird’s beak. The tail is long and whip-like and bears 2 – 6 spines (3). These eagle rays possess highly attractive colouring; the uppersurface is blackish-blue with many white spots, whilst the underside is white (2).
Large groups of spotted eagle rays may be seen outside of the breeding season. These rays swim close to the surface and can occasionally be seen jumping clear out of the water (known as ‘breaching’). Females give birth to around 4 live young (2).
Spotted eagle rays have heavy dental plates which they use to crush their hard-shelled prey (4); they feed predominantly on bivalve shellfish (2).
Although the spotted eagle ray is found throughout the world’s tropical oceans, current research indicates that there are several different forms of this ray that likely constitute a number of distinct species (1)(4).
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