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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

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Maximum longevity: 15.5 years (wild)
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Diagnostic Description

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Deep grove around front of head below eyes; forehead above groove indented, snout below groove is distinctly bilobed (Ref. 26938). Disk brown to olive above, with no spots or marks, wings long and pointed (Ref. 7251). Lower surface white or yellowish white (Ref. 6902).
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Recorder
Grace Tolentino Pablico
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Life Cycle

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Exhibit ovoviparity (aplacental viviparity), with embryos feeding initially on yolk, then receiving additional nourishment from the mother by indirect absorption of uterine fluid enriched with mucus, fat or protein through specialised structures (Ref. 50449).
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Armi G. Torres
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Migration

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Oceanodromous. Migrating within oceans typically between spawning and different feeding areas, as tunas do. Migrations should be cyclical and predictable and cover more than 100 km.
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Rainer Froese
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Trophic Strategy

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A benthopelagic species found on continental and insular shelves; enters bays and estuaries; forms huge schools inshore (Ref. 114953). Jumps occasionally, landing with a loud smack, probably as a territorial display. Migrates south in large schools that disappear off northern Florida, USA and are not reported from Caribbean Is.; tagged fish have been recovered in northern South America (Ref. 7251). Population in the Gulf of Mexico migrates clockwise; schools of up to 10,000 rays leave west coast of Florida for Yucatan, Mexico in the fall (Ref. 7251). Foraging schools of rays invade tidal flats during the flood tide. Stirring motions of the pectoral fins combined with suction from the expansive orobranchial chamber are probably used to excavate deep burrowing bivalves (Ref. 59106). Adult rays feed on deep burrowing mollusks and juveniles feed on shallow or non-burrowing bivalves (Ref. 59106). The soft shell, Mya arenaria, contributed the greatest frequency of occurrence (Ref. 59106). Exposed pectoral fin tips and water boils on a calm surface was characterized the shallow-water feeding activity of cownose rays (Ref. 59106).
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Arlene G. Sampang-Reyes
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Biology

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A benthopelagic species found on continental and insular shelves; enters bays and estuaries; forms huge schools inshore (Ref. 114953). Feeds mainly on benthic invertebrates and molluscs (implicated in damaging seagrass beds) (Ref. 93252, 114953). Jumps occasionally, landing with a loud smack, probably as a territorial display. Migrates south in large schools that disappear off northern Florida, USA and are not reported from Caribbean Is.; tagged fish have been recovered in northern South America (Ref. 7251). Population in the Gulf of Mexico migrates clockwise; schools of up to 10,000 rays leave west coast of Florida for Yucatan, Mexico in the fall (Ref. 7251). Ovoviviparous (Ref. 50449).
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Importance

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fisheries: minor commercial; aquarium: public aquariums; price category: medium; price reliability: very questionable: based on ex-vessel price for species in this family
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Cownose ray

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The cownose ray (Rhinoptera bonasus) is a species of Batoidea found throughout a large part of the western Atlantic and Caribbean, from New England, United States to southern Brazil (the East Atlantic populations are now generally considered a separate species, the Lusitanian cownose ray (R. marginata)). Male rays often reach about 2 and 1/2 feet in width. Females typically reach about 3 feet in width. However, there have been reports of rays up to 7 feet in width. Sizes change depending on the geographical range. Females will usually grow larger than males, allowing for larger offspring. These rays also belong to the order Myliobatiformes, a group that is shared by bat rays, manta rays, and eagle rays.[2]

In 2019, the species was listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.[1]

Taxonomy

The genus name Rhinoptera is named for the Ancient Greek words for nose (rhinos) and wing (pteron). The species name bonasus comes from the Ancient Greek for bison (bonasos).

Description

The cownose ray is 11 to 18 inches (28 to 46 cm) in width at birth. A mature specimen can grow to 45 inches (1.1 m) in width, and weigh 50 pounds (23 kg) or more. There is some controversy over the size that a mature cownose ray can reach. A ray reaching a span of 84 inches (2.1 m) has been recorded.[3] The cownose ray is often mistaken for being a shark by beach-goers. This is due to the tips of the rays fins sticking out of the water, often resembling the dorsal fin of a shark.[2]

A cownose ray is typically brown-backed with a whitish or yellowish belly. Although its coloration is not particularly distinctive, its shape is easily recognizable. It has a broad head with wide-set eyes, and a pair of distinctive lobes on its subrostral fin. It also has a set of dental plates designed for crushing clams and oyster shells. When threatened the cownose ray can use the barb at the base of its tail to defend itself from the threat.[4]

A cownose ray has a spine with a toxin, close to the ray's body. This spine has teeth lining its lateral edges, and is coated with a weak venom that causes symptoms similar to that of a bee sting.[3]

Behavior

Diet and feeding

The cownose ray feeds upon clams, oysters, hard clams and other invertebrates. It uses two modified fins on its front side to produce suction, which allows it to draw food into its mouth, where it crushes its food with its dental plates. Cownose rays typically swim in groups, which allows them to use their synchronized wing flaps to stir up sediment and expose buried clams and oysters.

The cownose ray prefers to feed either in the early morning hours, or in the late afternoon hours; when the waves are calm and visibility is higher than during the day. The cownose ray has a jaw that reflects its diet of: benthic bivalve mollusks, crustaceans, and polychaetes. Their jaws are extremely robust and have teeth with a hardness comparable to that of cement, allowing them to eat hard shells. The feeding habits of cownose rays is cause for increasing concern, as they are known for destroying oyster beds that are already being destroyed largely by human pollution. The cownose rays destruction of large oyster beds only further puts oyster beds at risk.[5]

Predation

The cownose ray sits fairly high up on the food chain, and as a result only has a few natural predators. These predators include; cobia, hammerhead sharks, and humans who like to fish for them.[6][7]

Reproduction and lifespan

Sexual maturity for both males and females is reached around 4 to 5 years of age. In the Gulf of Mexico, females live up to 18 years, and males only live up to 16 years.[8]

Cownose rays breed from April through October. A large school of cownose rays gather of varying ages and sexes in shallow waters. A female will swim with the edges of her pectoral fins sticking out of the water, with male cownose rays following her trying to grasp the fins to mate.[4]

The embryo grows within its mother with its wings folded over its body. Initially it is nourished by an egg yolk, although the uterine secretions of the mother nourish it later in its development. The length of gestation is disputed, but it is believed to last between 11 and 12 months and is variable. At full term, the offspring are born live, exiting tail first.

Migration

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Cownose rays swimming in shallows in the Gulf of Mexico

The cownose ray often migrates from the Gulf of Mexico to Trinidad, Venezuela, and Brazil.[3] The Atlantic migration pattern consists of the cownose rays moving north in late Spring and moving south in late Fall.

Migration may be influenced by water temperature and sun orientation, which explains the seasonal migration pattern. Southern migration may be influenced by solar orientation and Northern migration may be influenced by the change in water temperature.

It is unknown whether their migratory behavior is due to feeding or premigratory mating activity.[4]

The cownose ray is also present in areas such as Maryland and Virginia, and can be seen migrating and schooling, as it is not uncommon for them to swim near the surface, despite feeding mostly on the bottom. These schools can be seen and migration tracked via airplane as it is easy to see the schools from the sky. However, while the migration patterns can tracked, the exact reason for migration is currently unknown.[9]

The cownose ray has recently been spotted in the inland waters of the mid Atlantic island of Bermuda.[10]

 src=
Cownose stingray teeth and mouthparts. Stingray teeth consist of interlocking bars (dental plates) that crush food.

Habitat

Cownose rays appear naturally in the Eastern and Western Atlantic Ocean. Within the Eastern Atlantic Ocean, the cownose ray can often be found in Mauritania, Senegal, and Guinea. In the Western Atlantic Ocean, they are located from Southern New England to Northern Florida in the United States, as well as throughout the Gulf of Mexico, Trinidad, Venezuela, and Brazil.

They live in brackish and marine habitats and can be found at depth up to 72 feet (22 m). They are social creatures and migrate extremely long distances, often traveling in schools.[1]

Conservation status

The cownose ray is currently listed as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List due to extensive overfishing in the Caribbean. It is less threatened in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic coast of North America, but the species overall has still experienced steep population declines of 30–49% in only 43 years. Cownose ray killing contests have been banned in the state of Maryland.[1]

Relationship to humans

Risk to humans

Stingrays, including the cownose ray, can pose a low to moderate risk to humans. Rays will lash their tails when threatened, posing a risk of being whipped. If threatened, the cownose ray can also use their barb as a weapon to sting the aggressor. A sting from a cownose ray can cause a very painful wound that requires medical attention once stung. While the sting is not usually fatal, it can be fatal if stung in the abdomen.[11] There is also a risk associated with eating meat from the sea animal that has not been prepared correctly. Shigella may be acquired from eating meat from a cownose ray that has been contaminated with the bacteria. This bacteria causes shigellosis, and can result in dysentery. Symptoms can include diarrhea, pain, fever, and possible dehydration.[5]

Fishing

One solution to the cownose rays' destruction of oyster beds, as well as their overpopulation in certain areas, is to open the ray up for commercial fishing. However, since the means to fish them are difficult and expensive to obtain, and the meat of the rays has very little demand, this solution would most likely prove to be too expensive and yield too little of a profit for it to be a viable venture for any commercial fishermen. It is, however, often caught by hobby fishermen.[5] In the Caribbean and along the Venezuelan coast, the ray is heavily overfished leading to declines of up to 49% of the population in the last 43 years.[1]

Aquariums

Cownose rays can be seen in many public aquaria worldwide and are often featured in special 'touch tanks' where visitors can reach into a wide but shallow pool containing the fish, which have often had their barbs pinched or taken off (they eventually regrow, similar to human nails), making them safe enough to touch.

The following aquariums and zoos are known to have touch tanks featuring cownose rays (alone or with other fish):

USA

Canada

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Carlson, J.; Charvet, P.; Avalos, C.; Blanco-Parra, MP, Briones Bell-lloch, A.; Cardenosa, D.; Crysler, Z.; Derrick, D.; Espinoza, E.; Morales-Saldaña, J.M.; Naranjo-Elizondo, B.; Pacoureau, N.; Pérez Jiménez, J.C.; Schneider, E.V.C.; Simpson, N.J.; Dulvy, N.K. (2020). "Rhinoptera bonasus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2020: e.T60128A3088381. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-3.RLTS.T60128A3088381.en. Retrieved 18 November 2021.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ a b "Cownose Ray Facts". Saint Louis Zoo. Archived from the original on November 19, 2018. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Ball, Michael (July 16, 2012). "Commercial Fishery Species Guide" (PDF). NOAA Fisheries Service Apex Predator Program. NOAA. Archived (PDF) from the original on February 22, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Kittle, Kimberly. "University of Florida". Rhinoptera bonasus. Florida museum of Natural History. Archived from the original on 2016-04-27.
  5. ^ a b c "Rhinoptera bonasus". Florida Museum. 2017-05-11. Archived from the original on 2018-10-06. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  6. ^ "Cownose Ray | Chesapeake Bay Program". www.chesapeakebay.net. Archived from the original on 2021-05-17. Retrieved 2021-07-03.
  7. ^ "Cownose Rays in the Chesapeake Bay: What do we know?" (PDF). Chesapeake Bay Program. 22 October 2015. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 November 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2021.
  8. ^ Puglisi, Melany P. (August 1, 2008). "Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce". Rhinopera bonasus. Archived from the original on May 3, 2016.
  9. ^ Smith, Joseph W.; Merriner, John V. (1987). "Age and growth, movements and distribution of the cownose ray, Rhinoptera bonasus, in Chesapeake Bay". Estuaries. 10 (2): 153–164. doi:10.2307/1352180. JSTOR 1352180. S2CID 84445210.
  10. ^ "New Addition To Bermuda's Marine Wildlife". Bernews. 2021-09-22. Retrieved 2021-09-22.
  11. ^ "Stingray". Encyclopaedia Britannica. Archived from the original on October 6, 2018. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  12. ^ "Adventure Aquarium - Camden, NJ". www.adventureaquarium.com. Archived from the original on 24 August 2018. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  13. ^ "Stingray Touchpool | Aquarium Exhibits | Explore Aquarium". Archived from the original on 2018-11-30. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  14. ^ "Stingray Touch - Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum". Archived from the original on 2017-12-01. Retrieved 2017-11-25.
  15. ^ "Cownose Ray - Atlantic City Aquarium". Archived from the original on 2018-11-19. Retrieved 2017-10-28.
  16. ^ "Downtown Aquarium Denver Visitor Info". Archived from the original on 5 June 2019. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  17. ^ "SeaTrek Helmet Diving at OdySea Aquarium". Archived from the original on 24 August 2018. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  18. ^ "Stingray Beach". www.omahazoo.com. Archived from the original on 2021-04-27. Retrieved 2021-07-03.
  19. ^ writer, Carol Bicak / World-Herald staff. "You can touch a stingray at new exhibit at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium". Archived from the original on 3 July 2021. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  20. ^ "Petting Zoo -Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch". Archived from the original on 2017-12-01. Retrieved 2017-11-25.
  21. ^ "Touch a ray at friendship flats". Archived from the original on 2021-03-03. Retrieved 2021-04-13.
  22. ^ "Stingrays at Caribbean Cove presented by SSM Health". Archived from the original on 5 June 2019. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  23. ^ "The San Antonio Aquarium". Archived from the original on 2018-04-07. Retrieved 2018-04-07.
  24. ^ "Texas State Aquarium". Archived from the original on 2017-08-17. Retrieved 2017-08-16.
  25. ^ "Cownose Sting Ray". Archived from the original on 2012-02-25. Retrieved 2011-01-09.
  26. ^ "Animals A-Z". Turtle Back Zoo. Archived from the original on 22 January 2021. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  27. ^ "Quebec Aquarium". Quebec Aquarium. Archived from the original on 2 August 2017. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  28. ^ "Ray Bay - Ripley's Aquarium of Canada". Ripley's Aquarium of Canada. Archived from the original on 13 July 2017. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  29. ^ "Vancouver Aquarium - Discover Rays". www.vanaqua.org. Archived from the original on 2017-08-01. Retrieved 2017-08-01.
  30. ^ "Stingray Beach - Assiniboine Park Zoo". Assiniboine Park Zoo. Archived from the original on 20 June 2019. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
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Cownose ray: Brief Summary

provided by wikipedia EN

The cownose ray (Rhinoptera bonasus) is a species of Batoidea found throughout a large part of the western Atlantic and Caribbean, from New England, United States to southern Brazil (the East Atlantic populations are now generally considered a separate species, the Lusitanian cownose ray (R. marginata)). Male rays often reach about 2 and 1/2 feet in width. Females typically reach about 3 feet in width. However, there have been reports of rays up to 7 feet in width. Sizes change depending on the geographical range. Females will usually grow larger than males, allowing for larger offspring. These rays also belong to the order Myliobatiformes, a group that is shared by bat rays, manta rays, and eagle rays.

In 2019, the species was listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

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