Spotted Eagle Ray
Spotted eagle rays are one of 3 types of rays inhabiting Belize. They are covered with large white and cream spots on a dark background and has a white underbelly. They have a shovel shaped snout with a duck looking mouth that is sensitive to smells and electrical currents. They are completely made up of cartilage and have no bones. The most striking feature of rays however, is the wing like appendages that allow them to seemingly “fly.” On the spotted eagle ray the “wings” are pointed. These rays can leap impressive distances out of the water,their fins may measure up to seven and a half feet across and their weight may be 150-500 pounds. Spotted eagle rays have a whip-like tail that may be twice as long as its body and contain 1-5 spines at the base that contain venom.
They can be found along the reef, and in sandy areas (shallow or deep). Spotted eagle rays generally swim alone, but sometimes they are observed in pairs and schools.
They are bottom feeders, and eat crabs, conch, oysters, small fishes and crustaceans. They have powerful jaws and grinding teeth strong enough to crack shells.
Once the rays reach sexual maturity, females gives birth to 1-2 at a time. Each one hatches inside the female and then is born alive.
Photograph courtesy Allan Hines
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