Two large “Hihimanu” or Spotted Eagle Rays swam close by. They were 4-6 feet across and looked like ancient underwater pterodactyl. Viewing these wild creatures “flying” through the Ocean with a diving mask was a highlight of the passengers vacation and this Marine Biologists’ month!
This type of Ray has to constantly swim and is easily recognized by it’s bright white spots and long tail. They have between 2 and 5 stinging barbs at the base, which are venomous but only used for defense. I haven’t ever heard this species ever injuring a Snorkeler or SCUBA Diver in Hawai’i.
Unlike Manta Ray, who use their cephalic fins like scoops to eat plankton on or near the surface, the Eagle Rays have a shovel-like mouth that can exert hundreds of pounds of pressure to eat mollusks or shells. Their excellent sensory system allows this animal to “see” several feet down under the sand and commence digging.
We will be on the lookout at this Dive Site for the Eagle Rays and as always, on our Kauai Sea Rider Adventures— Seeking the Rare and Unusual Marine Life!