Fun Longheaded Eagle Ray Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Longheaded Eagle Ray Facts For Kids

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Around 24 species in the eagle ray family are found in tropical ocean waters in the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific Oceans. Among different species, the longheaded eagle ray is a unique and naturally scarce species. Keep reading to find out more facts related to the longheaded eagle ray and where it lives, its classification, distribution, etc. So, let's dive in!

The longheaded eagle ray belongs to the order Myliobatiformes, family Myliobatidae and genus Aetobatus, derived from two Greek words aetos meaning eagle and batis meaning ray. Their scientific name is Aetobatus flagellum; synonyms referring to this species in the past include Raja flagellum. These species are cartilaginous fish like sharks.

If this article interests you, scroll down to know more about longheaded eagle ray importance in detail. Also, read our articles on similar species wolf eel facts and lungfish facts.

Fun Longheaded Eagle Ray Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Crustaceans, echinoderms, cephalopods, small bony fishes

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

16.8 lb (7.6 kg)

How long are they?

Male: 9.2-21.4 in (233-543 mm)Female: 9.6-22.8 in (243-579 mm)‍

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Green, brown, white

Skin Type

Smooth and naked skin

What were their main threats?


What is their conservation status?


Where you'll find them?

Subtropical, Tropical, Temperate Oceans.


Atlantic, Indo-Pacific Ocean, Red Sea









Longheaded Eagle Ray Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a longheaded eagle ray?

The longheaded eagle ray (Aetobatus flagellum) is a species of eagle ray with a long tail and rhomboidal body.

What class of animal does a longheaded eagle ray belong to?

The longheaded eagle ray is a cartilaginous fish that belongs to the Chondrichthyes class in the Myliobatidae family and the Aetobatus genus. Species of this class have skeletons primarily composed of cartilage instead of bone.

How many longheaded eagle rays are there in the world?

The population of the longheaded eagle ray is not precisely known as there is limited data about the species. However, as per the IUCN Red List conservation status and threats of longheaded eagle ray, it can be concluded that there is an imminent decline of the species, making them Endangered.

Where does a longheaded eagle ray live?

Aetobatus flagellum's geographic distribution is limited in occurrence compared to other members of the eagle ray family. This eagle ray is found in tropical waters of the Indo-West Pacific range, including the Red Sea, the Western and Eastern Indian Ocean, the Japan Sea, and the Western Central and Northwest Pacific Ocean.

What is a longheaded eagle ray's habitat?

Longheaded eagle rays are benthopelagic fish that live and feed within the inshore surface water of the sea beds. This species typically inhabits brackish waters, estuarine environments, and natural habitats like subtidal aquatic beds, inshore fisheries, open seas, and shallow seas.

Who do longheaded eagle rays live with?

These species are known to be solitary predators. However, sometimes they swim in large groups and are found in pairs during the mating season.

How long does a longheaded eagle ray live?

These eagle ray species are known to have an average lifespan of 16 years in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

Exact information is not known related to longheaded eagle ray's reproductive biology. However, as per research studies, it is thought to be similar to other eagle rays. All members of the eagle ray family are ovoviviparous, which means that they have internal fertilization. The embryos develop within the mother’s body until they are ready to hatch. These embryos are supplied with nutrients from the yolk inside the mother's body and other fluids within the oviduct and then give birth to a live pup. During courtship, the male ray bites the wings of its mate. Like other species, longheaded eagle rays also have small litters, ranging from one to four pups, which reach sexual maturity at four to six years of age.

What is their conservation status?

As per the IUCN red list, the conservation status of the longheaded eagle ray is Endangered. These species are declining due to various reasons like toxic pollutants or chemicals causing habitat loss, over-exploitation as bycatch, and their smaller litter size could also be limiting their population recovery.

Longheaded Eagle Ray Fun Facts

What do longheaded eagle rays look like?

The dorsal fin is located between the pectoral fins

The characteristics of the longheaded eagle ray (Aetobatus flagellum) are its long beak-like snout with a cephalic fin projecting up away from the head. It has a whip-like tail three times as long as its body length, with two to four venomous spines located just behind the pelvic fin. Spiracles are located posterior to the bluish-black eyes, laterally on the head's dorsal side.

Longheaded eagle rays have a diamond-shaped disc with relatively large, narrowly triangular pectoral fins located posterior to the head. The dorsal fin is located between the pectoral fins and lacks a caudal fin. The dorsal side of their disc is greenish-brown without spots. Their mouth is on the lower side of the disc, which is mainly white with green-brown spots along the perimeter of the disc. Females have a larger disc size than males.

They have a single row of broad, flat teeth in each jaw that combine to form upper and lower plates for crushing shelled prey.

How cute are they?

They are different-looking creatures with diamond-shaped bodies, long heads, and whip-like tails that make them look like flying birds underwater.

How do they communicate?

Like the spotted eagle ray, these species also communicate through special electrosensory organs known as the Ampullae of Lorenzini. They are primarily found in cartilaginous fish like sharks that increase the sensitivity to prey beneath the seafloor and allow the fish to detect changes in water temperature and pressure while they swim.

How big is a longheaded eagle ray?

The disc width of an adult male longheaded eagle ray range in size from 9.2 - 21.4 in (233 - 543 mm). At the same time, females have a disc width to a maximum of 9.6 - 22.8 in (243 - 579 mm). Therefore, females are larger than males. A spotted eagle ray is about ten times the size of this species, and a stingray is about four times their size.

How fast can a longheaded eagle ray swim?

There is no factual information regarding how fast this species of fish can swim. However, research observations suggest that a spotted eagle ray (Aetobatus narinari) is an active swimmer, moving an undulating motion with its pectoral fins gracefully through the waters.

How much does a longheaded eagle ray weigh?

This species of eagle rays grow to a maximum weight of 16.8 lb (7.6 kg). Thus, they are very light compared to a spotted eagle ray, whose weight is about 507 lb (230 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and female species have no specific names. Therefore, they are generally called male longheaded eagle rays and female longheaded eagle rays.

What would you call a baby longheaded eagle ray?

A baby longheaded eagle ray is called a pup.

What do they eat?

Longheaded eagle rays feed on crabs, shrimps, lobsters, clams, oysters, echinoderms, and small bony fishes. These species use their shovel-shaped snout to dig in mud and sand for hunting their prey. Then, they crush the prey with their flattened teeth and separate shells from the flesh before consumption.

Are they poisonous?

The species of the eagle rays are not dangerous or aggressive to humans unless they are caught and mishandled. However, the sting on their tail is poisonous and can cause serious, painful wounds but will not kill humans.

Would they make a good pet?

Domesticating a longheaded eagle ray species is illegal and they should be left alone in the wild where they belong. But some species like the spotted eagle ray are popular display in public aquariums under authorized supervision, where proper care is taken by providing them suitable habitat and marine diet to live comfortably.

Did you know...

All species of eagle ray have flat plates of interlocking teeth on their upper and lower jaw to grind hard-bodied prey like a mortar and pestle.

A spotted eagle ray body pattern is unique, just like a human fingerprint.

Recent research revealed that the species in the northwest Pacific, the Persian Gulf (Kuwait), Indonesia, and southern Japan might belong to a related but distinct species of Aetobatus genus. Therefore, the species has recently been named Aetobatus narutoibei, or Naru eagle ray, and is currently in review.

What is unusual about a longheaded eagle ray?

The longheaded eagle ray characteristics are different from other genera of eagle rays by their distinguished notched nasal curtain. They have no color spots on their dorsal plane like a spotted eagle ray (Aetobatus narinari).

They are usually caught as bycatch in trawls. The benefits of the longheaded eagle ray are their liver is used for fish oil, and the remaining fish is often processed for fishmeal.

How did longheaded eagle rays get their name?

Its common name comes from its distinctive long head and protruding snout that resembles an eagle's beak.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these fangtooth moray eel facts and longnose gar facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Eagle ray coloring pages.

*Please note that the main image is of a spotted eagle ray, a similar species to the longheaded eagle ray. If you have an image of a longheaded eagle ray please let us know at [email protected].

Written By
Kidadl Team

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