Facts from the Field: Kaafu Atoll
Spotted Eagle Ray (Aetobatus narinari)
Eagle rays are cartilaginous fishes from the family Myliobatidae, along with the Devil Rays (Manta and Mobula). Eagle rays have a pronounced head and eyes on the side of the head. They are beautifully marked, inky black, flecked with white spots and rings and a white belly. The marks on their dorsal side can be used to identify them as they are unique to the individual. They feed on molluscs and use their large head to excavate the prey from the sand. They have hardened dental plates in the upper and lower jaws, which they use for grinding and crushing their mollusc shells. They can often be seen jumping from the water, why they do this is a mystery, scientists think it may be to remove parasites, attract females or females trying to avoid unwanted male attention, or maybe just to enjoy some noisy belly-flops with their friends! This footage was taken whilst diving at Colosseum in Kaafu Atoll, a crescent shaped reef with shallow top part and a steep drop off, a great place to see sharks and rays. The top part of the reef is very shallow with lots of fish and corals. In the channel, the reef becomes a slope with beautiful soft corals. The marine life here is rich in pelagic species, sharks, eagle ray, tuna, sting rays and many more beautiful animals.