Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays) > Myliobatiformes
(Stingrays) > Myliobatidae
(Eagle and manta rays) > Myliobatinae
Etymology: Aetobatus: Greek, aetos = eagle + Greek, batis, batidos = a ray (Raja sp.) (Ref. 45335).
The species Aetobatus laticeps Duméril, 1865 is considered as valid in Eschmeyer (CofF ver. Mar. 2011: Ref. 86697) according to White et al. (2010: Ref. 84291) where it is questionably valid.
Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; brackish; reef-associated; amphidromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 1 - 80 m (Ref. 9710), usually 1 - ? m (Ref. 55257). Subtropical; 43°N - 32°S, 115°W - 154°W (Ref. 55257)
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm 99.8, range 110 - 120 cm
Max length : 330 cm WD male/unsexed; (Ref. 58048); common length : 180 cm WD male/unsexed; (Ref. 6871); max. published weight: 230.0 kg (Ref. 7251)
Morphology | Morphometrics
soft rays: 0. An eagleray with a long snout, flat and rounded like a duck's bill, a thick head, and a pectoral disc with sharply curved, angular corners, and no caudal fin; jaws usually with single row of flat, chevron-shaped teeth (Ref. 5578). Each tooth a crescent-shaped plate joined into a band (Ref. 26938). Numerous white spots on black or bluish disc; white below (Ref. 5578). Long whiplike tail, with a long spine near the base, behind small dorsal fin. No spines on disk (Ref. 7251).
Western Atlantic: North Carolina (summer) and Florida, USA and Bermuda to southern Brazil. Throughout Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, including Antilles (Ref. 26938). Eastern Atlantic: Mauritania to Angola (Ref. 4440). Indo-West Pacific: Persian Gulf (Ref. 68964), Red Sea and South Africa to Hawaii, north to Japan, south to Australia (Ref. 9862). Eastern Pacific: Gulf of California to Puerto Pizarro, Peru and the Galapagos Islands (Ref. 5530). There may be more than one species of spotted Aetobatus (Ref. 9862). Based on combined genealogical concordance and genetic distance criteria,
Commonly found in shallow inshore waters such as bays and coral reefs but may cross oceanic basins (Ref. 9862). Benthopelagic, found near land at 1-60 m (Ref. 58302). Sometimes enters estuaries (Ref. 6871). Swims close to the surface, occasionally leaping out of the water, or close to the bottom (Ref. 3175). Frequently forming large schools during the non-breeding season (Ref. 7251). Feeds mainly on bivalves but also eats shrimps, crabs, octopus and worms, whelks, and small fishes (Ref. 9862). Ovoviviparous (Ref. 50449). Flesh edible (Ref. 30573). Over 3 m disc width and up to 880 cm total length if the long tail is undamaged (Ref. 30573). Bears young in litters of 2-4 (Ref.58048,Ref. 26938). Tail used as a decorative item (Ref. 27550). Common catch of the demersal tangle net, bottom trawl, inshore gillnet and, to a lesser extent, demersal longline fisheries. Utilized for its meat and cartilage (Ref.58048).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Exhibit ovoviparity (aplacental viviparity), with embryos feeding initially on yolk, then receiving additional nourishment from the mother by indirect absorption of uterine fluid enriched with mucus, fat or protein through specialised structures (Ref. 50449). Bears up to 4 young (Ref. 5578, 6871, 37816). Width at birth 17-35 cm (Ref. 37816).
According to Uchida et al (1990) (Ref. 51119) 'the male chases the female in mid water, then nibbles on her dorsal surface. The female stops swimming to begin copulation. The male bites the female on a pectoral fin and bends one clasper forward, then attempts an abdomen to abdomen copulation with either clasper, usually mid-water' (Ref. 49562). Copulation lasted for 20 seconds to 1 minute (Ref. 49562).
Last, P.R. and J.D. Stevens, 1994. Sharks and rays of Australia. CSIRO, Australia. 513 p. (Ref. 6871)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
Traumatogenic (Ref. 4690)
Fisheries: minor commercial; gamefish: yes
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5625 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 4.2 ±0.1 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Very Low, minimum population doubling time more than 14 years (tm=4-6; Fec=4).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): High to very high vulnerability (74 of 100) .