Cownose Ray

Category: Sea Life

The cownose ray is a species of ray that is found in the western Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Ocean. This ray is found all the way from the coast of New England to southern Brazil. These rays are very large and reach maturity very rapidly, which sets them apart from other rays.

Cownose Ray

Cownose Ray

Cownose Ray (underside)

Cownose Ray (underside)

Scientific & Common Names

Kingdom - Animalia

Phylum - Chordata

Class - Chondrichthyes

Subclass - Elasmobranchii

Order - Myliobatiformes

Family - Myliobatidae

Genus - Rhinoptera

Species - R. bonausus

Common name - Cownose Ray


The cownose ray is a species of eagle ray. This ray is very large, and reaches adulthood rapidly. The male cownose ray grows to about 45 inches in width, with a weight of up to 50 pounds. The female cownose ray is generally slightly smaller, with a width of 28 inches and a lighter weight of 36 pounds. The cownose ray can have a wingspan of up to 3 feet and has a long tail that resembles a whip.


The baby cownose ray gestates inside the mother cownose ray with its wings folded around its body. The egg yolk serves as nutrition for the baby at first, and later the uterine secretions of the mother provide nutrition. When born, the baby cownose ray exits the mother tail first. The length of the gestational period of the cownose ray is highly disputed.


The cownose ray lives in the water. The cownose ray eats clams, oysters and other similar animals. The cownose ray likes to travel in groups. This mode of travel allows the cownose ray to use wing flaps to stir up the ocean floor and find buried food sources. The cownose ray has barbs that allow it to sting; the sting is no more venomous than a bee sting.


The first written record of the cownose ray was made in 1815 by ocean explorers. The cownose ray lives along the Atlantic Coast of North, Central and South America. The cownose ray lives in the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean from about May to September and then travels south to warmer waters for the rest of the year.

Present status

The cownose ray is in no danger of extinction at this time.