Spotted eagle rays in Dubai
Spotted eagle rays in Dubai Image Credit: Twitter/ @AzraqME

After videos of Oman cownose rays swimming in Dubai waters circulated online, clips of its larger, patterned cousin, spotted eagle rays visiting Dubai Marina have been shared.

Residents of Dubai Marina have shared pictures and videos of the majestic cartilaginous fish from the eagle ray family floating in the waters.

British expat, Francesca Holgado has been a resident of Dubai Marina for almost four years and she shared a video with Gulf News.

The 30-year-old said: "I was on my way to the supermarket and I knew they had been seen in the area so I kept my eye out. I spotted them close to the edge of the railing near Marina Mall."

Holgado had heard from her neighbours about the rays being spotted in the waters nearby as they had seen them from their balconies.

She said: “I’d seen some friends post on their stories from their balcony’s that they could see them, they were obviously not clear videos but I knew they were about.”

Holgado said that she was “glad” she got to see a school of rays herself.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in Dubai, it was amazing,” she said.

Twitter account @AzraqME, a non-profit marine conservation group registered in the UAE also shared a similar clip of the spotted rays: “Two eagle rays spotted at Dubai Marina today."

@AzraqME also shared a video of a spotted eagle ray from Dubai Marina. 

According to Oceana, an organization focused on restoring oceans worldwide, spotted eagle rays reach widths of nearly 11 feet, and are one of the largest eagle rays, with only the mantas growing bigger.

Like all eagle rays, they are active swimmers and do not lie motionless on the seafloor, like the closely related whiptail stingrays. They have venomous spines on their tails that are used in defense against threats.

This species is found in warm and temperate waters worldwide. 

The rays are being spotted by UAE residents as boat traffic has greatly reduced due to movement restrictions put in place due to coronavirus.

The spotted eagle rays spend much of their time swimming freely in open waters, generally in schools close to the surface, and can travel long distances in a day.

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