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Courtship of The Magnificent Spotted Eagle Ray

Hawaiian names: lupe (“kite”) and hihimanu (“magnificent”)
Big Island of The Hawaiian Archipelago

The courtship of the Eagle Ray is truly a magnificent dance to witness. These two Spotted Eagle Rays swam together for hours, gracefully gliding as if they were flying through the ocean’s aqua waters. Their courtship dance was one of gentle persuasions mixed with moments of high energy propulsion. After mating, their dance became one of synchrony. At times their wing-like pectoral fins would be within an inch of each other as they swam side by side in graceful patterns.

It is of interest to know the Spotted Eagle Rays:

  • Use their pectoral fins like wings to “fly” in the water.
  • Give live birth to 1 to 4 young.
  • Wing span can reach 6 feet.
  • During the birthing process have been seen leaping from the water and dropping their young in midair.
  • Prefers shallow water, feeding in soft sand sediments.
  • Feed mostly on oysters, clams, crabs, shrimp and worms.
  • Are cousins to sharks, having cartilage skeletons.
  • Mature in 4 to 6 years.

© 2005 Victoria McCormick

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About Victoria

For the last forty-five years Victoria has photographed in the Hawaiian Island Chain recording special moments in time. She hopes her images will help raise awareness of the need to preserve the integrity of Hawaii’s natural treasures. May our respect and courtesy be given to the land and its wildlife and to the ocean and its sea life.