Spotted Eagle Ray
The spotted eagle ray is commonly observed in bays and over coral reefs as well as the occasional foray into estuarine habitats. Although it occurs in inshore waters to depths of approximately 200 feet (60 m), the spotted eagle ray spends most of its time swimming in schools in open water. In open waters, spotted eagle rays often form large schools and swim close to the surface. It is known to swim long distances across open waters as evidenced by its presence in Bermuda. This species is capable of leaping completely out of the water when pursued. It swims by “flying” gracefully through the water via the undulation of the pectoral fins. When this ray is caught and taken out of the water, it produces loud sounds. Although much research is still needed on the life history of the spotted eagle ray, it is known that this species shows high site fidelity (individuals often stay in or return to the same location). This ray also interacts socially with other individuals within its own species.
The spotted eagle ray is distributed worldwide in tropical and warm temperate waters. In the western Atlantic Ocean, it is found in waters off North Carolina and Florida (U.S.), Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean and Bermuda south to Brazil. This ray can be found from Mauritania to Angola in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. In the Indo-West Pacific, it occurs in the Red Sea and from South Africa to Hawaii, including north to Japan and south to Australia. The spotted eagle ray also resides in the waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean from the Gulf of California south to Puerto Pizarro, Peru, including the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador).