Common name: Pelagic eagle rays
This small family with a single genus Aetobatus was previously included in the Family Myliobatidae.
Family definition from White & Naylor (2016). Large to very large rays (adults reaching at least 3 m in width) with a rhomboidal, ‘wing-like’ disc; trunkbroad, depressed and thick. Head narrow, elevated above the disc, protruding forward anteriorly; anteriormost part ofpectoral fins joining head at level of eyes; eyes lateral on head; spiracles dorsolateral on head, openings almostcompletely visible in dorsal view. Mouth ventral, broad, lined with large patches of sensory pores and papillae; internasalflap with a deep v-shaped notch. Teeth in a single row in each jaw at all postnatal stages; upper tooth plate much broaderthan long; lower tooth plate much longer than wide with chevron-shaped teeth. Pectoral fins broad, with narrow roundedapices and free rear tips broadly rounded. A single, small dorsal fin; a short and obvious free rear tip, dorsal-fin originwell in front of pelvic-fin free rear tips. Tail long, whip-like, narrow-based, much longer than disc; one or moreprominent caudal stings present behind dorsal fin. Rostral part of pectoral fins without subocular ridges connecting themto pectoral disc (pectoral radials interrupted from separate cephalic lobe). Lateral margin of postorbital process ofchondrocranium prolonged and ventrally protruded, forming a bar-like projection. Hyomandibular Accessory Cartilage 1(HAC-1) absent from near distal end of the hyomandibular cartilage. Puboischiadic bar of pelvic girdle strongly archedand only moderately robust. Pectoral-fin radials (excluding rostral cartilages) 89–116.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Pelagic eagle rays, AETOBATIDAE in Fishes of Australia, accessed 25 May 2024,


White, W.T. 2014. A revised generic arrangement for the eagle ray family Myliobatidae, with definitions for the valid genera. Zootaxa 3860(2): 149-166.

White, W.T. & Naylor, G.J.P. 2016. Resurrection of the family Aetobatidae (Myliobatiformes) for the pelagic eagle rays, genus Aetobatus. Zootaxa 4139(3): 435-438. Abstract