Eagle ray

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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, while 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 48 centimetres (19 in) to 9.1 metres (30 ft) in length.[1]

Contents

Classification

Nelson's 2006 Fishes of the World (4th edition) recognizes seven genera, in three subfamilies. Some systematists place the cownose rays and the manta and mobulas in their own families (Rhinopteridae and Mobulidae, respectively).

Subfamily Myliobatinae

Aetobatus

The spotted eagle ray, Aetobatus 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).[2] Including the tail, it can reach up to 5 m (16 ft) in length. The spotted eagle ray is distributed in the tropical areas of all oceans, including the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. The genus also includes the much smaller longheaded eagle ray, Aetobatus 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.[3]

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