Common Name: Eagle Ray

Scientific Name: Myliobatis aquila

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Chondrichthyes

Order: Myliobatiformes

Family: Myliobatidae

Genus: Myliobatis

Species: M. aquila



There is an interesting animal out there you may have never heard of. It lives under water and is known as a cartilaginous fish. It's an Eagle Ray. They come in many different sizes and colors. The males are usually smaller in size then the females. Males are around 15.7-19.7 inches, and females are approximately 23.6-27.6 inches, when they have matured. You may also think that Ray's are only blue, but this Ray is dark brown to black on the top and white on the bottom. These creatures can adapt to different levels of salt in the water. Sometimes they have to make dramatic changes to live in the certain area that may contain a high amount of salt. These animals also have different characteristics to them than other Ray's. These Rays have a very long tail and are much wider than they are long. They have angular corners and by their tail they have 1 and sometimes 2 spines on top of the tail close to the body.


Eagle Rays live in warm water in parts of Eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean, and the North Sea. They live at the depths of 3-985 feet. You will find them in bays, estuaries, or around coastlines in shallow lagoons. They are not listed as an endangered species, because they are considered to be of minor commercial importance, But some are caught by nets, hooks, and bottom trawlers. There is very low or minimum population for eagle rays. They are near threatened by the IUCN. Eagle rays are shrinking, because it takes a while to reproduce, because they have a slow sexual maturation development. theTmain man in the food web. They usually, eat things like fish, oysters, and clams. They are able to eat this food by using their pectoral fin tips and subrostral lobe. If they need to, they could also use their tail which contains venom to hurt a predator.


Most of the time eagle rays will eat at different times of day to avoid competing for food. If necessary they will fight coral reef fish for food. Most hammerhead sharks will eat rays by hitting them with their head to the bottom of the water. Then will pin it to where it can begin to eat it. The only protection that eagle rays have is their venomous tail which they use to fight off the predators. Something interesting to me was that most eagle rays are prettier than most of the other ones, Also that there are many other rays similar to eagle rays. I learned that eagle rays have a spine right on top of their tail by their body, and that eagle rays are harmless to humans. But if they feel threatened they may attack you.


Author: Samantha S

Published: 02/2009



Photo Credit: Dr. Peter Wirtz