Wednesday 17 July 2013

Cownose Ray

Image: juan.aguere
It's the hilarious new sitcom everyone's talking about!

Ray is a rich man with a time consuming job who neglects his wife and children because he cares more about money than he does about his wife and children.

When a witch turns his nose into a cow's nose, Ray is forced to reevaluate his prejudice against poor people and women he doesn't find sexually attractive.

Join Ray on his heart-warming journey of self discovery as he battles his inner bastard and tries to become a nice person.

You'll laugh! You'll cry! You'll point at his stupid face!

Cownose Ray!

Image: Robertson, D Ross
Oh no, wait... it's a fish.

Cownose Rays are eight species in the genus Rhinoptera, which means "nose wing". The different species are each somewhere around 1 or 2 metres (3.3 or 6.6 feet) long and most tropical parts of the world have at least one of them.

Image: Robertson, D Ross
They look... how can I put this? Stupid? Moronic? Forgive me, but I think Cownose Rays look like complete dolts. If they went to Candydrop Woods for a picnic, even the Gummy Bears would have to admit they're a little soft in the head.

Image: Vincent van Dam
Mermaid Shrek
They even have a dent in their forehead!

Obviously looks can be deceiving. I have to say that because I heard there's a witch going round making people funny-looking to teach them a lesson.

Cownose Rays are quite graceful as they flap their gigantic pectoral fins to make their way through the sea. It's not too surprising, since Cownoses are close relatives of the magnificent Manta Ray. They just lost out bad when names were getting handed out.

Video: Luis Bringas

Some Cownose Rays get a lot of use from their swimming. R. bonasus, which is commonly known quite simply as the "Cownose Ray" (check that privilege), can get together in their thousands to migrate between Florida and the Gulf of Mexico every year. The Golden Cownose Ray does the same between Mexico and California. The Javanese Cownose Ray can also congregate in schools of several hundred individuals, while other species are very rare.

One big difference between the Cownose and Manta can be seen when they get hungry. While the Manta swims around filtering tiny plankton from the water, the Cownose Ray has to descend to the sandy sea floor.

Image: Virginia Sea Grant
Using their snazzy electrosensory skills they seek out any crustaceans, molluscs or shellfish who may be buried beneath the sand. They even have a pair of weird lobes above the mouth to help guide belligerent prey to their doom. This, I suppose, is the "nose wing".

Now it's time to eat. But if you look at their menu of favourite foods, you'll notice a lot of tough shells in there. They'll need some pretty good teeth to get through it. Special teeth. We've seen special teeth in sharks before, from the Sand Tiger's eternal spillage of daggers to the Kitefin's palisade of blood letting. Let's see what a shark's relative can come up with.

Image: Robertson, D Ross
Follow the tooth-brick road
Strange. Cownose Rays have flattened teeth that fit together to form a kind of paved road of crushing death on each jaw. Prey is basically cracked and crunched between two Roman roads.

Turns out they're not so soft in the head after all! And the other side of their body is quite unlike the round, blunt head. Cownoses end in a long, spindly tail armed with a stinger at its base. You don't have too much to worry about, though; the pain inflicted has been compared to a bee sting!

Image: larsjuh
As is common among cartilaginous fish, Cownose Rays invest their effort in producing very few, large offspring as opposed to lots and lots of tiny eggs. In this case, they usually only have one pup at a time. The pup hatches from an egg while it's still within the mother and is fed with some kind of secretion from her uterus.

Oh, and the pup has a sheathe covering its spine so that mother doesn't get stung. They may look bovine, but they're not that stupid!


TexWisGirl said...

they're ALMOST cute, but not quite. :)

Joseph JG said...

I guess it depends on the angle you see them from!

Anonymous said...

I searched cow and this showed up

Anonymous said...

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Joseph JG said...

Haha! That's nuts!

Anonymous said...

my picture is awesome joseph jameson-gould

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Joseph Jameson-Gould you have commented on nearly everything on realmonstorosities