Whitespotted Eagle Ray, Aetobatus ocellatus Click to enlarge image
Whitespotted Eagle Ray, Aetobatus ocellatus Image: Ian Shaw
© Ian Shaw

Fast Facts

  • Classification
  • Size Range
    The species grows to at least 3.5 m disc width and 8.8 m total length.

The Whitespotted Eagle Ray has an angular shaped disc with white spots on the upper surface. The species grows to at least 3.5 m disc width and 8.8 m in length.


The Whitespotted Eagle Ray has an angular shaped disc with white spots on the upper surface. The snout can vary in shape from spade-like in juveniles to pointed in large individuals (P. Last, CSIRO. pers. comm.). The whip-like tail has 2-6 spines.

Many references refer to this species as Aetobatus narinari. The work of White and coauthors (see References) showned that A. ocellatus has a longer tail and other morphometric differences. The major difference is in the background colouration of the dorsal surface; A. ocellatus is "a dark greenish, greyish to amost blackish (sometimes with a pink tinge)", whereas A. narinari is "much paler, medium yellowish brownish (fawn)"

Aetobatus narinari
Segments of a tooth plate from the lower jaw of a ray (probably a Whitespotted Eagle Ray, Aetobatus ocellatus). The v-shaped bones were collected by a diver at a depth of 12 m, Julian Rocks, Byron Bay, New South Wales, 2006. Image: J. Corlass
© J. Corlass NSW Marine Parks Authority


The Whitespotted Eagle Ray occurs coastal waters.


The species occurs in tropical waters of the east-Indo-west-central Pacific. In Australia it is known from central coast of Western Australia, around the tropical north of the country and south to the central coast of New South Wales.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information.


  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. Allen, G.R. & R. Swainston. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 201.
  3. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
  4. Johnson, J.W. and Couper, P.J. 1998. Flotsam (p. 20-21). in Davie, P. (Ed). Wild Guide to Moreton Bay. Wildlife and Habitats of a beautiful Australian Coast – Noosa to the Tweed. Queensland Museum . Pp. 408.
  5. Last, P.R. in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
  6. Last, P.R. & J.D. Stevens. 1994 Sharks and Rays of Australia. CSIRO. Pp. 513.
  7. Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes. Coral Graphics. Pp. 330.
  8. Oh, J., Kim, S., Kim, C.-G., Soh, H.Y., Jeong, D. & Y.-H. Lee. 2006. The first record of Long Headed Eagle Ray, Aetobatus flagellum (Pisces: Myliobatidae) from Korea. Ocean Science Journal. 41(1): 53-57.
  9. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.
  10. White, W.T., Last, P.R., Naylor, G.J.P., Jensen, K. & Caira, J.N. 2010. Clarification of Aetobatis ocellatus (Kuhl, 1823) as a valid species, and a comparison with Aetobatus narinari (Euphrasen, 1790) (Rajiformes: Myliobatidae). 141-164 in Last, P.R., White, W.T. & Pogonoski, J.J. Descriptions of new sharks and rays from Borneo. CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research Paper 32: 1–165 [146].
  11. Whitley, G. P., 1940. The Fishes of Australia. Part I. The Sharks, Rays, Devilfish and other Primitive Fishes of Australia and New Zealand. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Sydney. Pp. 280.