seen? Sometimes seen on our reefy Southern shores, including partially enclosed lagoons at Tanah Merah and Sentosa.
Elsewhere, the Eagle ray is associated with reefs, sometimes entering
estuaries. It may swim close to the surface, occasionally leaping out of the
water. It may also swim close to the bottom. It sometimes form large schools during non-breeding season.
It is found almost worldwide in tropical waters, and some believe
there may be as many as four species of spotted eagle ray.
What are eagle rays? Eagle rays belong to Family Myliobatidae
which include the Manta rays! According to FishBase:
the family has 7 genera and 42 species. These fishes have the head
above the disc-shaped body. In eagle rays, the jaws are powerful with
large platelike crushing teeth in several rows. The tail is much longer
than disc; venomous spine(s) are found in some species. They have
a small dorsal fin. Some are known for their leaping ability high
into the air. These fishes bear live young (viviparous) giving birth
to 2-6 fully developed young.
Features: Grows to about 3m wide, 8m long with the tail,
weighing up to 230kgs. But more commonly about half that. One White-spotted eagle ray seen at Tanah Merah was about 60cm wide with a tail about three times longer. Triangular
'wings', upper body dark with spots evenly distributed over the body
(no pattern of bands). In some, the spots are eye-shaped. The underside
is white. A long thin whip-like tail with 2-6 venomous spines at the
base. It has a bulging head with a triangular snout.
Large triangular 'wings' with white spots.
Tanah Merah, May 11
Eyes and breathing spiracles on
the sides of the head. Triangular snout.
Venomous spines at
the base of the tail.
|Eagle babies: Mama Eagle ray gives
birth to live young, a litter of 2-4 pups after a gestation period
of probably a year. The ray is sexually mature at 4 to 6 years.
What does it eat? It feeds on
clams but also eats shrimps, crabs, octopus, worms, snails and small
fish is eaten by humans and the tail is sometimes used as a decorative
item. It is commonly caught in trawl nets and gillnets.
Status and threats: Although the Eagle ray is not listed
in Singapore's Red List, on the international IUCN Red List it is
classified as Near Threatened. The fish naturally reproduces slowly
and is threatened mainly by overfishing
|Eagle rays on Singapore shores
|Other sightings on Singapore shores
Labrador, Dec 16
Photo shared by Chi Yang
Myliobatidae recorded for Singapore
Wee Y.C. and Peter K. L. Ng. 1994. A First Look at Biodiversity
narinari (White-sppotted eagle ray)
Aetomylaeus nichofii (Banded eagle ray)
Myliobatus maculatus=**Aetomylaeus maculatus (Mottled eagle
Aetobatus ocellatus (White spotted eagle ray)