The quality is not the best, but it was pretty murky that day. I have heard since of another sighting of an Eagle Ray in that same vacinity. From what I know of them, they eat conch and will work an area where they find food. It is now January, '09 and I am told the rays are "running" in schools near the island. A school of 18 was seen in the past few days (Jan. 26, '09) There are dive trips to the north to look for these schools.
In the photo above there is a remora with the ray. Remoras attach themselves to large fish with a “sucker” with which it sticks tight. It is done by suction only, no teeth. It gets a free ride with this, but is capable of swimming on it’s own as shown above. There is much discussion as to the role they play with their hosts. Some say it is commensalism, or more rightly phoresy. It means it benefits from the host and the host loses little by the relationship. It is thought to gain meals on the scraps left behind when the host eats. Others think it is more like mutualism with the host benefitting because the remora is thought to clean off parasites from the host. I understand the reason that eagle rays are known to breach is due to their attempt to rid themselves of parasites and maybe even remoras. The one that breached and landed in my friend’s boat (shown in an earlier blog) had a remora attached.
I have also observed small remoras attached to parrot fish. The parot fish seem crazy to be rid of them. I have taken dozens of photos and have not gotten one decent shot of a parrot with a remora attached.