Myliobatidae (eagle rays)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Chondrichthyes > Elasmobranchii > Batoidei >  Myliobatoidei  

These large, heavy-bodied rays have thick, broad heads that protrude from the disk outline, rounded fleshy snouts, angular pectoral disks, a single dorsal fin near the pelvic fins, and long slender whiplike tails with a small sting. All are active swimmers, and some readily leap into the air. Their massive jaws have rows of flat crushing teeth forming a tooth plate in each jaw, which can crack and grind thick-shelled mollusks. The thick flexible snout is used like a pig's nose, to root out prey on the bottom. 23 species, 4 in the area.

Species found in Southern Africa

Aetobatus narinari (Spotted eagleray or bonnetray)

A thick-headed eagleray with many small white spots or rings on its black or bluish disk, a long rounded flat snout like a duck's bill, sharply curved angular corners on pectoral disk, and normally a single row of flat, chevron-shaped teeth. Underside white.

Aetomylaeus vespertilio (Ornate or reticulate eagleray)

 

Pteromylaeus bovina (Duckbill ray)

A thick-headed eagleray with several pale blue-grey stripes across its light brown disk, a long rounded flat snout like a duck's bill, sharply curved angular corners on pectoral disk, and normally 7 rows of flat teeth. Stripes sometimes absent, underside white.

Text by Leonard J.V. Compagno, David A. Ebert and Malcolm J. Smale


  Iziko Museums of Cape Town, 2008

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