SPOTTED EAGLE RAY
This is probably the easiest ray to identify. Broad angular disc, twice as wide as long, strongly concave posterior with angular tips. Dark brown to black with series of lighter spots/circles on the dorsal surface. Disc white ventrally. Large fleshy subrostral lobe. Dorsal fin near base of whip-like tail followed posterior by a venomous spine(s).
Commonly found in shallow inshore waters such as bays, estuaries, and coral reefs but may cross oceanic basins to depths of around 200 feet.
Feeds mainly on bivalves but also eats shrimp, crabs, octopus, worms, whelks, and small fishes.
Aplacental viviparity. Up to four young pups per litter.
Wingspan up to 10 feet and up to 500 pounds. Maximum total length (tip of snout to tip end of tail) of 17 feet.
Protected in Florida state waters. Often seen swimming near the water surface, occasionally leaping completely out of the water. Frequently forming large schools during the non-breeding season. Non-aggressive species of little danger to humans with the exception of their defensive venomous barb located near the base of the tail. Avoid handling or exercise extreme caution.