A smaller cousin of the manta ray, the cownose ray looks as if it flies through the water, flapping pectoral fins like wings. Fleshy flaps around their mouths form a funnel to lift and sift sand in search of shellfish and crabs.
Cownose rays eat clams, oysters, mussels, crustaceans and other invertebrates, crushing the shells with extremely powerful dental plates.
Can be found worldwide in tropical and temperature oceans, bays, estuaries, and river mouths.
Listed as “near threatened” in the wild.
Cownose rays congregate in large schools exceeding hundreds of individuals in one school. While these rays have in the past been implicated in contributing to the decline of oyster fisheries in some areas, it’s now known that their presence supports the natural maintenance of healthy oyster reefs.