Myliobatidae (Eagle Rays)


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Eagle rays are the common names for the members of the Mylibatinae, a subfamily for the Myliobatidae (Eagle and Manta Rays) family. Similar to stingrays, eagle rays have broad, wing-like pectoral disc and have a very long tail armed with spine. They are distinguished by their interrupted pectoral fin disc that formed a single lobed rostral fin, and an elongated nasal curtain that overlaps mouth which makes their head seems like bird’s beak.

Members of the Mylibatinae are found in the warm-temperate and tropical continental and insular seas worldwide. There are 3 genera and 22 species worldwide. They can be found from the seashore to a depth of at least 500 m, occurring on both soft and hard bottom around coral and rocky reefs, near kelp beds, and in estuaries, lagoons, and enclosed and open bay. These rays are strong and active swimmers, found near or on the bottom but often swimming well above it. They are more active than the stingrays and less likely to be stepped upon. Their stinging spine, which is close to the tail base, is not particularly effective as a defensive weapon. All species are live-bearing, bearing up to 4 young at a time. The powerful jaws and plate-like teeth, fitting close together in mosaic arrangement, form a grinding mill that allows these rays to feed on hard-shelled mollusks which includes crabs, lobsters, oysters, and clams.


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Scientific Name: Aetobatus narinari  (Euphrasen, 1790)
English Name: Spotted Eagle Ray, Duckbill Ray
Mandarin Name: 魟鱼 (Hōng yú), 魔鬼鱼 (Móguǐ yú)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Pari Helang, Pari-lang Bintik Putih
Main Diagnostic Features: Long, flat and rounded snout like a duck's bill. Many white spots on black or bluish disc.
Size: Maximum 330 cm width, commonly 180 cm width.
Remarks: Venomous spike or sometimes there are two spikes at the tail that can whip upward. Be very careful when handling all types of rays.