(Tagging Rays):

Conservation Information

The Spotted Eagle Ray, also known in the scientific field as Aetobatus narinari, is one of the more popular species of rays. This is due to its easily noticeable pattern and general size of the species. Depicted above is a video produced by the California Academy of Science about “Science in Action.”1 This video, published in late 2011, demonstrates safe tagging methods in order to track their local population of spotted eagle rays off the coast of Sarasota, Florida. One of the researchers, Kim Bassos Hull, walks viewers through the processes of capturing the ray and the next steps for her team. This process is very important. Utilizing the data collected from around 280 individual spotted eagle ray captures by the team overall, researchers can look at the migration of the species.2 This is important because as the video mentions, the spotted eagle ray species is listed as near threatened. The list for capturing and tagging the species is as follows:3

  • Scan for PIT tags (determines if the ray has been previously caught)
  • Measure the ray (width, length, head shape)
  • Genetic clips (clips from pelvic fin)
  • Photograph the ray (the patterns are different on all rays so it can aid in identifying)
  • Collect blood samples (put the ray in tonic immobility so it’s easier to get the blood)
  • Put a visual tag on the ray (spaghetti tag)
  • Weigh the ray
  • Release the ray4
(Releasing Rays):

The video depicted above demonstrates the release of two spotted eagle rays from the Mote Marine Lab after utilizing acoustic telemetry tags.5 In addition to this video, it’s important to point out how in a span of 5 years, the group (with help from Kim Bassos Hull) has tagged up to approximately 540 rays which equates to roughly 260 captured and tagged spotted eagle rays.6


  1. ↩︎
  2. ↩︎
  3. ↩︎
  4. ↩︎
  5. ↩︎
  6. ↩︎