Updated: Feb 9
The spotted eagle ray (Aetobatus narinari). It can be found globally in the warm waters of places like the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. They are considered near threatened according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species.
I sometimes see spotted eagle rays on the westside of Oahu and occasionally on Oahu's North Shore. Usually, I see them swimming alone but I sometimes will find them in a group. I have seen up to 3 spotted eagle rays swimming together. They are stunning animals to witness in motion. The spotted eagle ray develops ovoviviparously which means the eggs are retained in the female and hatch internally, feeding off a yolk sac until live birth. After a gestation period of one year, the mother ray will give birth to a maximum of four pups. When the pups are first born, their discs measure 17–35 centimeters across. The rays will take 4 to 6 years to mature and can live as long as 25 years. Spotted eagle rays grow to a maximum length of 16.4 feet (5 m), including the tail, and can weigh as much as 507 pounds (230 kg). Their wingspan reaches a maximum width of 9.8 feet (3 m) from tip to tip and can be found near the surface to just over 196 feet (60 m) deep.
After seeing my spotted eagle ray photo, many people have asked me "Are their tails really that long?" or "Are their tails real?" Yes, they are. Eagle rays are known for their very long tails and well-defined bodies. Their tails can reach up to 5 meters in length and they have inky blue bodies that range from 48 cm to 9 meters in length.
How often do I see the spotted eagle ray when free-diving? Unfortunately, not very often. I am lucky enough to see them only once in a while. Once during one of my snorkeling tour groups, we were fortunate enough to meet spinner dolphins, a white tip reef shark, a spotted eagle ray and a Hawaiian green sea turtle. My guests were thrilled!
One of my photography pieces features a perfectly aligned spotted eagle ray swimming across the blue ocean floor printed on canvas. On a normal day of diving, I can easily take 300-500 photos. If I am lucky, I will get at least one shot out of all of them worthy of display Haleiwa in an art gallery. However, for this spotted eagle ray shot, I took only 20 photos to capture this perfect one. It was pretty exciting! I am very grateful to be able to share this masterpiece at the Waimea Blue Art Gallery in Haleiwa.
Waimea Blue Art Gallery and Ocean boutique is located on the North Shore of Oahu in the beautiful islands of Hawaii. We feature local art and photography made by Hawaii based artist. If you are looking for something from Hawaii, made in Hawaii, that feels like Hawaii, please come by! We are currently home to 2 photographers and 12 local artists who all live on the island of Oahu and share a love of the ocean.
Find us in the heart of historic Haleiwa town in the North Shore Marketplace. Blog by Hawaii Underwater Photographer Akima Kai
Waimea Blue Art Gallery and Ocean Boutique
66-250 Kamehameha Hwy D103 Haleiwa HI 96712
(808) 498-2218 firstname.lastname@example.org
Blog by Akima Kai
Photographer, Waimea Blue Gallery, Haleiwa