Cownose Ray

Close-up of a Cownose Ray swimming at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas.

Animal's Behavior 
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.

Eating Habits
Cownose rays eat clams, oysters, mussels, crustaceans and other invertebrates, crushing the shells with extremely powerful dental plates.

Range
Can be found worldwide in tropical and temperature oceans, bays, estuaries, and river mouths.

Conservation Efforts
Listed as “near threatened” in the wild.

Animal Facts
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.