Manta Rays are not the only type of rays that we get in Lembongan!
Rays in Lembongan!
Lembongan area is known as a great spot to see manta rays. These beautiful creatures can be seen all year round on the south coast of Nusa Penida. The southern coastline of Penida provides and amazing environment for the manta ray cleaning stations and feeding stations.
As amazing as the manta rays are, mantas are not the only type of ray that we get to see underwater!
Let’s take a look at three different types of rays that are possible to see, while diving in Lembongan, besides manta rays.
These three are:
- Blue Spotted Stingray
- Eagle Ray
- Marble Ray
Blue Spotted Stingray!
The blue spotted stingray, also know as bluespotted ribbontail ray, can often be found at the manta ray sites. Differently to the manta rays, stingrays are bottom feeds and have their mouths located on the underside of their bodies.
These rays are often found in sandy areas, to a max depth of around 30 meters. Often when diving at Manta Bay or Manta Point, these creatures will be tucked under the sand or gliding just above the bottom.
The blue spotted stingray is a fairly small ray, not exceeding 35 cm (14 in) in width, with a mostly smooth, oval pectoral fin disc, large protruding eyes, and a relatively short and thick tail with a deep fin fold underneath. It can be easily identified by its striking color pattern of many electric blue spots on a yellowish background, with a pair of blue stripes on the tail.
While timid and innocuous towards humans, the bluespotted ribbontail ray is capable of inflicting an excruciating wound with its venomous tail spines. Due to this, it is very important when kneeing down in the stand at Manta Bay or Manta Point, that you check to make sure there are no hiding stingrays.
These medium size rays can be found at many of the dive sites around Penida and Lembongan. Although not as common as the blue spotted stingray or manta ray, these rays can be spotted passing by at the end of the Mangrove dive site.
Unlike the blue spotted stingray, the eagle ray has its mouth at the front of its body. Eagle rays spend most of their time swimming above the reef and in open ocean. They are ovoviviparous, giving birth to up to six young at a time.
Eagle rays feed on crustaceans, crushing their shells with their flattened teeth. They are also able to filter plankton from the water, just like a manta ray.
They are excellent swimmers and are able to breach the water up to several metres above the surface.
One of the defining features of eagle rays, that differ from other rays, is their long tails. These tails can some times be 2 to 3 times the length of the eagle rays body. This makes it easy to identify them from other rays, when at a distance. They range from 0.48 to 9.1 m in length.
The eagle ray is one of Bryce’s favorite creatures to spot underwater. While working in the Cook Islands, eagle rays were a common sighting. There where times where they would be spotted schooling, flying along the reef like birds in the sky.
Another ray that is not as common as the manta rays here in Lembongan but are sometimes spotted at Mangroves, Blue Corner, Gamat Bay and Ceningan Wall.
As like the blue spotted stingray, the marble ray has its mouth located on the underside of its body. These rays spend most of their time resting on the bottom or swimming just by the reef, generally at a depth of 15–60 m.
Reaching 1.8 m across, this large ray is characterized by a thick, rounded pectoral fin disc and a relatively short tail bearing a deep ventral fin fold. In addition, it has a variable but distinctive light and dark mottled pattern on its topside.
Generally nocturnal, the marble ray can be solitary and is an active predator of small, crustaceans, and bony fishes. Although not aggressive, if provoked the round marble ray will defend itself with its venomous tail spine.