Fly like an eagle – underwater
The eagle is a majestic bird, unfurling its long wings to soar effortlessly through the air.
So it makes sense that the species of ray that also has long wings – stretching at times over 7 feet from tip to tip – to knife seemingly effortlessly along the ocean floor in search of food has come to be known as the eagle ray. Consider it the eagle of the ocean, swooping along in constant search for food.
Eagle rays swim along the ocean bottom, using its large rostrum – or nose – to sense crabs, claims, snails and other food sources that are hiding in the sand. Once they scoop their prey, their powerful jaws and flat teeth grind their food into edibility.
While sometimes found alone, eagle rays often swim in schools of several hundred together.
Eagle rays are common in the warm waters off the southern American coasts, but humans should avoid them. Eagle rays have a stinger that can cause intense pain and possibly a severe bacterial infection. They are protected species in many parts of the world, making it illegal to hunt or fish for them.
- Much like human fingerprints, each spotted eagle ray has a unique pattern of spots. No two are the same.
- Eagle rays can live as long as 25 years.
- Female eagle rays are much larger than their male counterparts.
- Female eagle rays lay eggs, but then carry them until their young hatch and are ready to swim on their own.
- An eagle ray’s most distinguishing characteristic are the triangular corners of its wing-like pectoral fins.
- While an eagle ray has a distinctive color and dot pattern on its back, its belly usually is solid white.