Common Eagle Ray – Myliobatis aquila
The Common Eagle Ray is a species in the order of the Myliobatiformes and thus belongs to the subclass of the Elasmobranchii.
Myliobatis aquila has a diamond-shaped, flat body that is up to 150cm wide. The tail is very thin, long and has a sting, which is occupied with barbs. Overall, it reaches a maximum length of up to 260cm. The upper side is brown to black and without any pattern, while the lower side is white. Its head is rounded and stands out clearly from the body. Myliobatis aquila has seven rows of flat teeth in the upper and lower jaw.
Habitat and spread
The Common Eagle Ray prefers to live close to the coast, on sandy ground, down to a depth of 500m, but you can also find it on rocky ground or in the deep sea. When diving in the Canaries it is quiet rare. One has higher chances to see it on the central and eastern islands than on the western ones.
It is also found from Ireland via the North Sea, Madeira, along the European and African coast, all the way to South Africa, including the Mediterranean Sea. Furthermore it is distributed in the western Indian Ocean, along the coast of Kenya and in South Africa.
I have only observed them living solitary, but they can also be found in large groups.
Myliobatis aquila mainly feeds on benthic crustaceans, invertebrates and bony fishes. It is also sighted regularly on oyster banks, causing great damage. Like all Eagle Rays, it is ovoviviparous. This means they have eggs, but do not lay them. Three to seven pups are born after a gestation period of about six to eight months. The reproduction time of the Common Eagle Ray is between September and February.