Far Fetch

News for nerds

The Galapagos Islands features some of the most beautiful creatures on the planet. Scuba divers visit from all over the world to view the greatest show on Earth, a smorgasbord of marine animals from hammerhead sharks to the giant eagle rays.

Capable hunters of small fish and crustaceans, spotted eagle rays have evolved an ability to detect the electrical impulses of their prey through thousands of nerve cells located in their wings and around their heads.

They can also sense minute changes in water temperature and pressure.

Commonly seen alone, these rays are unique in appearance with their spotted back and flat snouts similar to a duck’s bill.

Their whip tails are longer than those of other rays, and they have 2-6 venomous, barbed stingers containing powerful venom that is capable of inflicting serious, even fatal wounds on large predators. (Look for them at the base of the tail in the video.)

Graceful but dangerous
With such defenses, they are avoided by most animals except large sharks—yet humans accidentally can run into them. They freely leap out of the water at times, and, at least twice have landed in boats with dire consequences for at least one woman.

The scuba diver in this video was hanging onto a rock in the strong current off Darwin Island when an eagle ray appeared and swam near him, almost within arm’s reach. It fought the current, making slow progress creating a prolonged and memorable experience for the lucky diver.