Life of Sea | Bat Ray (Myliobatis californica) | Bat ray is found in muddy or sandy pools, estuaries and bays, kelp beds and rocky shoreline soils. Bat rays prefer shallow tidal waters and sandy areas in bays and estuaries. They can also be found near reefs and kelp beds. Like other species of ray, they are sometimes found buried in the sand. They are found in the eastern Pacific Ocean, between the Oregon coast and the Gulf of California. It is also found in the area around the Galapagos Islands. Bat rays are euryhaline. They are able to live in environments with a wide range of salinity.
Species: M. californica
Bat rays are light brown to black with white belly rays. They grow up to 1.2-1.85 m long and weighing up to 90kg. Their wingspan can reach up to 1.85 m from point to point. Males are usually smaller than the females. These rays have at least one poisonous spine near the base of their tails behind their dorsal fin, some have up to 3 spines. Bat rays can live to 23 years. They are seen both solitary and schooling, with a number of schools with thousands of individuals.
Bat rays feed on mollusks, crustaceans and small fish on the seabed, using their wing like pectoral fins to move sand and expose prey. They can also dig trenches up to 20 cm deep to expose buried prey, such as mussels. Bat ray teeth are flat and pavementlike, forming tightly packed rows that are used for crushing and grinding prey to the ground shells are ejected and the meat consumed. As with all cartilaginous fish, the teeth fall out and are constantly replaced.
While the Bat ray, like other stingrays, has a poisonous sting in the tail (near the base), it is not considered dangerous and uses the spine only when attacked or frightened. Bat rays are ovoviviparous species. Eggs are fertilized internally, and the nests of up to 10 were born alive, usually in summer or autumn, after a gestation period of one year.
Female Bat rays selecting a partner than her reproductive condition determined by swimming behind her chemical cues to detect. If a female is ready to mate, the male swims under her with his back to her belly, and turns a rank to the position near her cloaca. During mating, the pair swims together with synchronized beats of their wings. Females group together during the mating season and males help in choosing a suitable partner by protecting sexually immature men and women who have already covered.
At present, the Bat ray commercially fished in Mexico, but not the United States. However, it is sometimes fished for sport fighting for its features. Prehistoric native tribes on the California coast (probably Ohlone), especially in the San Francisco Bay Area, fished bat rays in large numbers, probably for food.
Commercial growers have long believed Bat ray (estuarine areas that have the same preference for the housing sector) prey on oysters, and locked them in large numbers. In fact, crabs (which are prey of Bat ray) are mainly responsible for the oyster losses. Bat rays are not considered endangered or threatened. Bat rays are popular in marine parks, and visitors are often allowed to touch or stroke the beam, usually on the wing.