The Stylish Ray

The Stylish Ray



Rays belong to the class of the Chondrichthyes, the so-called cartilaginous ray fish, such as manta rays from the Mobulidae branch and the eagle ray, member of the Miliobatidae.

They so graciously fly through the waters of the Red Sea, hovering over sea beds, conjuring visions of a flying carpet. Various of these species can be observed in locomotion in the Red Sea. Their disk-like, flat and roundish bodies seem to have been designed in a wind tunnel for aerodynamic purpose. Rays like to dwell on the bottom of sandy patches although the manta and the eagle ray are keen to explore the surfaces of the open sea. They are active both day and night.

Family members

Manta Ray

Size up to 700 cm (23ft). Depth up to 40m (130ft)

The manta ray flies on enormous wings. It is equipped with a set of horn-like fins with the appearance of pliers. It uses these horn-like ‘devices’ to steer plankton into its mouth. It also comes in handy to navigate.

The body reaches 700 cm, including the impressive sting-like tail, and is primarily greyish to black. The huge and impressive singly manta is active between the surface and 40 meters in depths, feeding on plankton and occasionally on small fish and crustaceans. It has a taste for shallower waters near reefs or sheltered rays.

 Panther Torpedo Ray

Size up to 100cm (3,28ft). Depth up to 110m (360ft)

The panther torpedo ray also goes by the name of scalloped torpedo ray. They have an intriguing ‘offense’ system.  The torpedo is capable of stunning and numbing its prey, releasing an electric current with its electric organs, derived from modified muscles. The disk-shaped body is distinctive for its patchy network of yellow and brownish colours. The diurnal torpedo ray is  very rarely seen in company and hangs around above sandy sea beds near or near sloping reefs. It is this habitat where it feeds on worms, crustaceans and little fish.

Spotted Eagle Ray

Size up to 230 cm (7,5ft). Depth up to 45m (147ft)

The diurnal spotted eagle ray is your omnivore ‘avant le lettre’. It feasts upon crustaceans, molluscs, small fish and octopus. It has dark grey with bluish tinges and is dotted with numerous white spots. This singly ray prefers  shallower water of lagoons and bays near reefs. However, it is also known for travelling considerable distances in the open sea, which deserves the spotted eagle ray the tag of ‘pelagic’. It turns 'gregarious', shaping small schools or operating in couples during the mating season.

Blue-Spotted Stingray

Size up to 70 cm (2,3 ft). Depth up to 20m (65,6ft)

The blue-spotted stingray is a common feature in the Red Sea. It is active both day and night. It inhabits shallow and sandy patches near reefs during the night, searching for hermit crabs, shrimps and worms. It can easily be spotted, no pun intended, under corals. Its disk-shaped body is marked with yellow and blue spots. They are ovoviviparous. It means that they develop and hatch eggs inside the mother's body and that the young blue-spotted offspring comes out alive of the mother's body.