Beautiful spotted eagle stingray has fascinating way of finding food
Spotted eagle rays are one of the larger stingrays and one of the most beautiful. They are uniquely shaped and stunningly beautiful with their black and white markings. Having one of the highest brain mass to body mass ratio, they are also believed to be one of the more intelligent of the marine animals. They actually exhibit curiosity that resembles human curiosity, which can explain why the normally shy and reclusive rays will occasionally allow a close approach by a respectful swimmer or scuba diver.
Like many other stingrays, the spotted eagle ray possesses a very complex set of electroreceptors that allow it to detect prey buried in the sand. Jelly filled pores around the snout, mouth and eyes for a complex network of receptors that are sensitive enough to react to the minute electrical impulses of crustaceans and mollusks. The ray will locate the food and then beat the sand and inhale it. Using its powerful jaws, the spotted eagle ray is capable of crushing even a large conch shell to get at the food inside.
These stingrays possess a lateral line, like sharks and other fish, that allows them to sense minute changes in the motion of the water around them. Compressed energy waves, similar to sound waves, can help the stingray avoid predators by letting them sense the approach or rapid movement well in advance.
Scuba divers love these beautiful animals and they consider it a treat to be able to get close to one. This videographer approached slowly and from the front, rather than from above, in a manner that did not alarm the stingray. Even moving fins and arms slowly will help the ray recognize that the scuba diver is not a threat. The result can be a close look and a few unforgettable images.
This videographer was hoping to document the ray's ability to expel sand through its spiracles, or vents, located behind the eyes. While feeding, the spotted eagle ray will stir up a lot of sand to get at the prey buried within. They will also use their strong snouts to turn over rocks and chunks of coral.
The spotted eagle ray is a magnificent creature that can reach an impressive 3.3m (10 foot) wingspan and a length of 5m (15.5 feet). They are a sight to behold in their own habitat.