Little-known facts about the cownose ray


  • The Cownose ray (Rhinoptera bonasus) is considered a nuisance fish by fishermen in Chesapeake Bay, where it is the most common ray.

  • As if it cared.
  • The Cownose ray can grow up to three feet wide, maximum, and has spooky eyes.
  • However, one was 84 inches wide.
  • The Cownose ray floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.
  • Chesapeake Bay fishermen have to release Cownose rays they catch if the ray tells them a story. This is why they consider them nuisances. Here is a typical Cownose ray story:
  • “A group of friends visited some old guy they knew somehow and at some point complained about life. The old guy said, who wants gin? They all did so he went to his bar and came back with a tray with a couple bottles and some other ingredients — vermouth, soda, tonic, lemons, olives, and ice, to be specific — and a whole bunch of different glasses: some fine crystal, some styrofoam, and so on. The guests all selected glasses and poured themselves drinks. One, who was especially alcoholic, curled up on the sofa with a bottle. Another drank no gin and ate only olives. You wanted gin, said the old man, yet the styrofoam cups are all still on my tray and you all took crystal. Gin is life, he said. And the glasses are homes, jobs and all that shit. You get just as drunk drinking life straight out of the bottle as you do drinking it out of a crystal goblet. What about him, they asked, pointing to the guy eating olives. I wanted whiskey, he said.
  • No wonder the fishermen throw them back.
  • The Cownose ray can grow to a width of 45 inches.
  • The Cownose ray is born tail-first.
  • The Cownose ray loves to eat invertebrates, which it crushes in its jaws.
  • This includes you, oysters.

4 responses to “Little-known facts about the cownose ray

  1. Thank you for giving me a few last little known facts about something before I head for Mexico tomorrow morning (disgustingly early tomorrow morning, I might add). It makes me feel better about spending so much time on an airplane knowing I will have such things to ponder as I turn up the metal music on my iPod and attempt to drown out my fellow travelers and their inane airplane banter. :)

  2. Jann

    “floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee”…

    and can be heard on occasion singing under its breath (perhaps it doesn’t want to betray its age),

    “Fee, fie, fo, fum, Cassius Clay here I come,
    26, 27, 28,29, I’m gonna make your face look just like mine,
    ….14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, gonna knock him clean right out of his spleen.”

    Who would have guessed it was a fan of Bob Dylan’s “I shall Be Free No. 10″?

  3. I thought he said, “We’re all given some sort of skill in life. Mine just happens to be beating up on people.” but that was another Ray.

    Also, you totally get more gin straight from the bottle than you do from the glass. Whether you can handle that intensity is another question entirely.