Thursday, October 8, 2009

Spotted Eagle Ray

Copyright 2009 by Barry Fackler

Last weekend, I posted on my recent dive in Keauhou Bay where I saw a Spotted Eagle Ray. Today I thought I'd post some more Eagle Ray photos I took a few months ago, also in Keauhou Bay. This ray was particularly at ease around me and allowed me to take dozens of photos. Above, she is ready to chow down on a sea urchin.

Copyright 2009 by Barry Fackler

In both the photos above you can appreciate the "duck-bill" appearance of the animal's head. It is not particularly beautiful, but very well adapted for rooting around in the sand for crustaceans and molluscs. Several times at Honaunau, Betty and I have seen Eagle Rays actually digging holes in the coral reef with their bills, shattering the coral in the process. On a couple occasions there was thick, viscous purple ink in the water from the ray's victim, a sea hare.

Copyright 2009 by Barry Fackler

Aside from the bill, an eagle ray is a beautiful and graceful creature. In this view, several of the venomous barbs are visible at the base of the tail. Although it is a shy and inoffensive fish, it must be accorded a fair amount of respect. A mature specimen can be six feet across and weigh up to 500 pounds. The Hawaiian name is hihimanu which means "magnificent" or "elegant"

1 comment:

  1. Once at shark ridge I saw one bashing a triton's trumpet against the sea floor trying to open it.