The Galápagos is filled with rays: Golden rays, Spotted Eagle rays, Stingrays and Manta rays.
SPOTTED EAGLE RAY
You’ll know Spotted Eagle Rays when you see them by their splattering of white spots that paints their black tops. They also have pointier heads with a long tail tipped with spines.
Where to find spotted eagle rays:
The largest Spotted Eagle Ray schools can be found in small lagoons, such as at Black Turtle Cove on Santa Cruz, though snorkelers also see them off Turtle Island and Floreana. Snorkel with these rays on our Galápagos Island Explorer tour.
The largest of the Galápagos rays are the Manta rays, with the largest weighing in at around 6,600 pounds and measuring 13 ft across its ‘wings.’ These large rays are different from other rays in that their mouth lies at the back edge of its head, and therefore require five pairs of gills lining their underside in order to breathe. It’s unique ‘horns’ also top either side of its head—giving it their other names of “devil ray” or “devilfish.”
Where to find Manta rays:
You can often see Manta rays while looking down from the cliffs lining South Plaza Island or occasionally from the shorelines of Rábida Island.
Golden rays get their name from their golden-colored tops, though their long, whipping tail is also distinctive. They vary in size, but they average about 1.5-3.3 ft across their wings. Golden rays generally enjoy quiet lagoons, though they can be seen swimming by themselves in diving sites throughout the islands.
Where to find golden rays:
Santa Cruz’s Black Turtle Cove is often a great place to find schools of golden rays while touring the Galápagos.