During the last few weeks, Ko Haa Lagoon has been visited by a juvenile Spotted Eagle Ray. Spotted Eagle Ray sightings are rare in this area. In the past when we have come across them, they have been shy and difficult to get close to. This one however, was anything but shy and our Scubafish team and their divers were lucky enough to get close enough to see it on many occasions.
Interesting facts about the Spotted Eagle Ray
The Spotted Eagle Ray (Aetobatus narinari) is a cartilaginous fish that belongs to the Myliobatidae family, which includes the well-known Manta Ray (Manta birostris). Spotted Eagle Rays can be found globally in tropical regions, in shallow coastal water by coral reefs and bays, in depths down to 80 metres (262 ft). They can weigh up to 230 kgs. These species can live for 15-20 years.
This ray can be identified by its dark dorsal surface covered in white spots and rings. It has a white underbelly. Its tail is longer than those of other rays. Located just behind the pelvic fins are several venomous, barbed stingers. Spotted Eagle Rays commonly feed on small fish and crustaceans and will sometimes dig with their snouts to look for food, buried in the sand of the seabed. They have a flat snout that resembles the beak of a duck. The Spotted Eagle Ray’s specialized, chevron-shaped tooth structure helps it to crush the mollusks’ hard shells.
These rays have the unique behaviour of digging with their snouts, in the sand of the ocean. While doing this, a cloud of sand surrounds the ray and the sand spews from it’s gills.
Spotted Eagle Rays can be seen singly, in pairs or in occasionally very large groups (which can number in the hundreds.) This ray is known to breach, (jump out of the water) and there are isolated accounts of leaping Spotted Eagle Rays having accidentally landed on boats!
The Spotted Eagle Ray is hunted by many varieties of sharks.