Spotted Eagle Ray

Spotted Eagle Ray

Cartilaginous Fish


COMMON NAME: spotted eagle ray
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Chondrichthyes
ORDER: Myliobatiformes
FAMILY: Myliobatidae
GENUS SPECIES: Aetobatus narinari


DESCRIPTION: Flattened (depressiform) body with dark brown dorsal surface covered in white spots. Ventral surface is white. Pectoral fins are extremely pronounced - forming wing-like appendages used for primary locomotion. Head is obvious, with flattened, tapered snout. Caudal fin is heavily modified into a whip-like form (typical of ray species). Venomous spines (1-5) may be found along base of caudal fin's dorsal surface.
MALE External claspers located on the far underside of the body - forward of the caudal fin - distinguish males.
SIZE: Length w/o tail: 1.2-2 m (4-6.5 ft) avg; 2.4 m (8 ft) max
Length w/ tail: 880 cm (28.8 feet) max
Width: 300 cm (9.8 ft) max
WEIGHT: 230 kg (507 lbs) max
DIET: Bivalves, shrimp, crabs, annelids, octopus, whelks, and small fish
GESTATION: Species exhibits dioecism. Fertilization is internal. Species is internal live bearer.
CLUTCH SIZE Up to 4 pups are produced
LIFE SPAN: 4-6 years
RANGE: Western Atlantic: Bermuda and North Carolina to southern Brazil, including Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and Antilles
Eastern Atlantic: Mauritania to Angola
Indo-Western Pacific: Red Sea and South Africa to Hawaii, north to Japan, and south to Australia
Eastern Pacific: Gulf of California to Puerto Pizarro, Peru, and the Galapagos Islands
HABITAT: 1-80 meters in tropical & sub-tropical marine open and coastal waters; occasionally found in brackish estuaries
STATUS: IUCN Data Deficient
CITES Not listed
USFWS Not listed


1. Spotted eagle rays have been observed congregating in large schools.
2. Spotted eagle rays are often observed cruising close to the surface. They are also known to "porpoise" - or leap - out of the water.
3. As with other ray species, spotted eagle rays possess flat plates of teeth which are used to crush the hardened shells of preys items such as bivalves and crustaceans.
4. For more information about sharks & rays, explore the Sharks & Rays InfoBook.


Eagle rays may be taken as by-catch in commercial fishing operations.


Bond, Carl E. Biology of Fishes - Second Edition. Saunders College Publishing, 1996.

Humann, Paul. Reef Fish Identification - Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas. New World Publications, Inc., 1992.