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The cownose ray is found in the western Atlantic from New England south to the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and Brazil. It also occurs in the eastern Atlantic along limited sections of the coast of Africa. This species is most often seen swimming near the surface in coastal waters in schools that can number in the thousands of individuals. These schools are largest when this ray is undertaking its seasonal migrations.
The cownose ray can reach four to five feet across. It has a brown to olive coloration on its back and a white underside. Its tail is whip-like and has one or two barbs at its base near the body. It has a uniquely shaped forehead that resembles a cow’s nose, hence its name.
Visit the touch pool at the Georgia Explorer gallery and feel the smooth back of the cownose ray.