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Eagle rays, also known as manta rays, are large, flat, and disc-shaped cartilaginous fish that belong to the family Myliobatidae. They are closely related to sharks and skates and can be found in warm, tropical and subtropical waters around the world. Eagle rays have a diamond or oval-shaped disc with a triangular or rounded snout and a long, whip-like tail. They can reach up to 7 feet in length and weigh up to 400 pounds.
Habitat and Distribution
Eagle rays can be found in shallow coastal waters, coral reefs, and estuaries in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. They are most common in the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean regions.
Diet and Hunting
They feed on a variety of prey, including mollusks, crustaceans, worms, and small fish. They use their long snouts to stir up the sand and uncover prey. They then use their long, whip-like tails to stun their prey.
Behavior and Social Structure
Eagle rays are solitary animals, but they sometimes form large schools during feeding. They are strong swimmers and can reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour.
Eagle rays reproduce through internal fertilization. Females give birth to live young in shallow, protected waters. Pups are usually born in groups of two to six.
Threats and Conservation
They are threatened by overfishing, habitat destruction, and pollution. They are also targeted by commercial and recreational fisheries. Conservation efforts are underway to protect this species and its habitat. Maldives is a region pretty known for its manta ray diversity and protection. It can be found in 3 types of eagle rays: the Ornate, the Spotted, and the Banded ones. Manta Trust project is committed to their conservation.
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