Video by Aaron Davitt
Key Largo Marine Life
Key Largo is known for it’s diverse and abundant Marine Life. Particularly the schooling fishes such as Snappers, Grunts, Goatfish, Spadefish, Parrotfish, etc. This this is why divers return again and again to dive here. But Key Largo also frequently sees many of the bigger Pelagics on it’s reefs and wrecks. One of the favorites for our divers is the beautiful and majestic Spotted Eagle Ray.
The Spotted Eagle Ray
According to Oceana: “Reaching widths of nearly 11 feet (over 3 m), the spotted eagle ray is one of the largest rays, with only the mantas growing bigger. Spotted eagle rays, like all eagle rays, are active swimmers and do not lie motionless on the seafloor, like the closely related whiptail stingrays (e.g., southern stingray). They are foraging predators and are known to eat a variety of invertebrate and fish prey. Just like the name implies, the spotted eagle ray is covered in spots and other markings. It is unmistakable with any other species throughout its range.”
We see Spotted Eagle rays alone, or in pairs, and every so often in schools. Over the years we have seen as many as 20 together gliding across the reef…a sublime sight! Eagle Rays are not fished commercially, by do end up as “bycatch” by commercial fishermen, and again according to Oceana, their numbers are declining due to this in tandem with their low reproductive rate…having between 1-4 pups per litter.
Diving Key Largo is great for marine life, large and small. The beautiful Spotted Eagle Ray is a scuba diver’s favorite, and we’re grateful they choose to share the Key Largo reefs with us and our divers!
A special thanks to Videographer Aaron Davitt
for this awesome Video