The rays of the BVI

Diving in the British Virgin Island is incredible and it would not be the same if we didn’t have rays.

Both eagle rays and southern sting rays frequent the waters of the BVI.
They are some of the favorite animals people like to see on their dives.
Although both are in the ray family, they do have their differences, so let’s have a look at who is who:

Stingrays are grey and rounder in shape. Their color often matches the sand they live around. They also have a long tail, they can use them to sting for protection. Their tails can be sharp and serrated and often have venom inside them.
They prefer to remain lower to the bottom and can often be found in the sand.
Stingrays prefer to eat clams, oysters, shrimps, crabs and mussels, which they crush using their strong jaws.
Did you know that they can weigh more than a piano?!

Eagle rays are black with white spots on their backs. These spots are different on every ray and can be used by scientist to identify them.
They can have crazy long tails (our dive guides have reported up to 15ft long) and their wingspan can get to nearly 11ft.
They like to fly mid water but do come to the sand to feed.
For food these guys like to snack on a variety of invertebrate and fish prey.
Eagle rays can be seen jumping out of the water which is still a mystery to scientists. One of the reasons they believe the rays might do this is to shake off parasites. Or maybe they just like a good belly flop…
They are foraging predators and are known to eat a variety of invertebrate and fish prey. 

Did you know that rays are from the same family as sharks! Why?
Sharks and rays don’t have bones in their body like other fish do. Instead they have cartilage, which is the same material as we have in our nose!