The Stylish Ray

The Stylish Ray

Rays

Characteristics

Rays belong to theclass of the Chondrichthyes, the so-called cartilaginous ray fish, such asmanta rays from the Mobulidae branch and the eagle ray, member of theMiliobatidae.

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 observedin locomotion in the Red Sea. Their disk-like, flat and roundish bodies seem tohave been designed in a wind tunnel for aerodynamic purpose. Rays like to dwellon the bottom of sandy patches although the manta and the eagle ray are keen toexplore 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 onenormous wings. It is equipped with a set of horn-like fins with the appearanceof pliers. It uses these horn-like ‘devices’ to steer plankton into its mouth.It also comes in handy to navigate.

The body reaches 700cm, including the impressive sting-like tail, and is primarily greyish toblack. The huge and impressive singly manta is active between the surface and40 meters in depths, feeding on plankton and occasionally on small fish andcrustaceans. 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 torpedoray 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 modifiedmuscles. The disk-shaped body is distinctive for its patchy network of yellowand brownish colours. The diurnal torpedo ray is  very rarely seen in company and hangs aroundabove sandy sea beds near or near sloping reefs. It is this habitat where itfeeds on worms, crustaceans and little fish.

Spotted Eagle Ray

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

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

Blue-Spotted Stingray

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

The blue-spottedstingray 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 forhermit 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. Theyare ovoviviparous. It means that they develop and hatch eggs inside themother's body and that the young blue-spotted offspring comes out alive of themother's body.