Eagle ray

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Eagle ray
Temporal range: 100.5–0 Ma
Late Cretaceous to Recent[1]
Eagle Ray Turks and Caicos Dec 15 2006.JPG
Aetobatus narinari
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Superorder: Batoidea
Order: Myliobatiformes
Family: Myliobatidae
Bonaparte, 1838

The eagle rays are a group of cartilaginous fishes in the family Myliobatidae, consisting mostly of large species living in the open ocean rather than on the sea bottom.

Eagle rays feed on mollusks and crustaceans, crushing their shells with their flattened teeth. Devil and manta rays filter plankton from the water. They are excellent swimmers and are able to breach the water up to several metres above the surface. Compared with other rays, they have long tails, and well-defined rhomboidal bodies. They are ovoviviparous, giving birth to up to six young at a time. They range from 0.48 to 9.1 m (1.6 to 29.9 ft) in length.[1]


William Toby White recognizes 3 genera.[2]


Main article: Aetobatus

A. narinari, also known as the bonnet ray or maylan, belongs to this genus. The ray bears numerous white spots on its inky blue body. It has a span width of 2.5 m (8 ft) and a maximum reported weight of 230 kg (about 507 lbs).[3] Including the tail, it can reach up to 5 m (16 ft) in length. The spotted eagle ray is found in the tropical areas of all oceans, including the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. The genus also includes the much smaller, A. flagellum, which is a widespread but uncommon species of Indian Ocean and western Pacific coasts. This is considered an endangered species due to huge pressure from fisheries throughout its range.[4]


Main article: Aetomylaeus

This obscure genus is distributed in the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, and the Western Pacific. These rays were named because they lack a sting on the tail. Pteromylaeus is a synonym of Aetomylaeus.[2]


Main article: Myliobatis

Myliobatis aquila, is distributed throughout the Eastern Atlantic, including the Mediterranean Sea and the North Sea. Another important species is the M. californica, in the Pacific Ocean. These rays can grow extremely large, up to 180 cm including the tail. The tail looks like a whip and may be as long as the body. It is armed with a sting. Eagle rays live close to the coast in depths of 1 to 30 m and in exceptional cases they are found as deep as 300 m. The eagle ray is most commonly seen cruising along sandy beaches in very shallow waters, its two wings sometimes breaking the surface and giving the impression of two sharks traveling together.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2015). "Mylobatidae" in FishBase. April 2015 version.
  2. ^ a b White, W.T. (2014): A revised generic arrangement for the eagle ray family Myliobatidae, with definitions for the valid genera. Zootaxa, 3860 (2): 149–166.
  3. ^ Florida Museum of Natural History Ichthyology Department
  4. ^ World Conservation Union "Red List" of threatened species