White-Spotted Eagle Ray
Common Name: Spotted Eagle Ray
Scientific Name: Aetobatus Narinari
White-Spotted Eagle Ray in Queensland grows
to at least 3m disc width. It has a rounded head with a duck
like bill or rounded snout. The top part of the body is covered
in numerous white spots on black or bluish background. It
is white below. It has a long whip like tail,
with usually one short spine (can have up to five) near the
base, behind a small dorsal fin.
ray feeds mainly on bivalves, but also eats shrimps, crabs,
octopus and worms, whelks, and small fish. It eats by crushing
its food with a series of flat, plate-like teeth in a protrusive
mouth. Groups of eagle rays sometimes invade coral reef lagoons
to feed with the incoming tide.
White-Spotted Eagle Ray is a benthic species,
meaning it feeds on the bottom of the ocean. However, it often
swims close to the surface and occasionally makes spectacular
leaps high out of the water. It frequently forms large schools
during the non-breeding season.
White-Spotted Eagle Rays have been known
to live for over 26 years, but they can begin breeding at
a relatively early age of 4-6 years. Pups are born at about
26cm disc width, and females may carry more than one embryo
at different stages of development. The White-Spotted Eagle
Ray reproduces by a technique called ovoviviparity.
This means young form from eggs within the mother's body and
remains there until they are ready to be born. When the young
emerge, they are born live, with only a membrane from which
to break out.
many other species of sharks and rays, which have a seasonal
reproductive cycle, females of this species may be continuously
pregnant throughout the year. As such, the White-Spotted Eagle
Ray is reported to bear litters of up to 4, but it usually
only carries 1 or 2 young.
found in shallow inshore waters such as bays and coral reefs,
but may cross oceanic basins. They sometimes enter estuaries.
Special Features or Habits
special feature of the White-Spotted
Eagle Ray is their ability to make spectacular
leaps high out of the water and they are one of the only rays
to do this. They also form large schools in the water column.
Location or Region Found
White-Spotted Eagle Ray is distributed worldwide
in tropical and warm temperate, coastal waters. In Australia
it is recorded from Shark Bay, Western Australia, to Sydney,
New South Wales. It is common in Queensland waters and is
often seen by divers around Moreton Bay, the Great Barrier
Reef and other locations.