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Belize Wildlife - Spotted Eagle Ray


We are snorkeling along the edge of the reef, where the gently sloping sea floor suddenly drops away into darkness. It feels like floating in space. And just off the edge, gliding gracefully, wingtip to wingtip are three spotted eagle rays. Eagle rays are the most elegant of sea creatures. With a barely a flick of their long, pointed wings they cruise over the shallows, hunting for molluscs buried in the sand. Unlike stingrays, which spend much of their time lying on the sand, the restless eagle ray is ceaselessly in motion. It uses its pointed snout to dig into the soft bottom after young conchs and other tasty molluscs, and spends the rest of its time cruising alone, or with others of its kind. Eagle rays are easily distinguished from stingrays by their protruding snout (they are members of the family known as “cow-nosed rays”) and their wide, pointed wings. The underside is white, and the upper surface is dark blue with light-coloured spots. But it is the grace with which they drift through the sea which makes them so impressive and delightful to watch.