Cownose Ray Rhinoptera bonasus

Cownose Eagle Ray
Cownose Eagle Ray
Cownose Eagle Ray US
The Cownose Ray is a type of eagle ray native to sandy coasts and estuaries of the western Atlantic from New Jersey to southern Brazil including the Caribbean. They travel in groups hundreds of miles along the coasts of the Americas, flapping their wings on the sand to expose shellfish. They can also be found in the eastern Atlantic off the African coast, possibly now classed as a different species - the Lusitanian Cownose, R. marginata - in which case those shown below are from both species.
Cownose Eagle Ray
Cownose Eagle Ray
Cownose Eagle Ray Canaries
It has an indented snout with two lobes giving it the cownose name. The pectoral fins (wings) of eagle rays do not cover the head, unlike those of stingrays. However, the tail does have a venomous spine near the body, like those of stingrays. The Cownose Ray can grow to over a metre wide. The top side is brown or greyish.
Cownose Eagle Ray
Cownose Eagle Ray
Cownose Eagle Ray
The underside is mainly white or pale grey and contains the narrow mouth, giving a ghostly facelike appearance. The mouth has dental plates to crush shellfish. The two lobes of the snout can open (as above right) to assist in suction and trapping prey.
Cownose Eagle Ray
Cownose Eagle Ray
Cownose Eagle Ray
Despite its wide range, it is classed as vulnerable, with large population declines mainly by fishing, either intentionally or, especially, as bycatch.