Aetobatus narinari is a larger species of ray that live in tropical and temperate oceans over the globe. They are a bentho-pelagic species, meaning that they are capable of living in the open water column, called the pelagic zone, and also the deepest area of the ocean, called the benthic zone (Schluessel 2008). Due to this wide geographic range, the Spotted Eagle ray can be found in many habitats.

Ray habitat map. Image found at wikimedia.org

Though often found near coral reef ecosystems, A. narinari are frequent visitors to coastal areas (Georgia Aquarium 2005). Due to its large size, the ray prefers to spend most of its time in open water. The water column is ideally suited to the Eagle ray because of its olfactory senses which allow the ray to sense prey and possible danger over a wide distance (Schluessel 2008). Because of its large size however, the ray faces little natural predation. The only threats in the ecosystem are larger-bodied sharks; these sharks include the hammerhead and tiger shark (Beautiful Oceans 2005). Unfortunately the largest problem faced by the A. narinari is people. The species is greatly over-fished and is on the near endangered list and is quickly disappearing from their ocean habitats.

 Photo by Peter Black

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