SALLY BENSUSEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SALLY BENSUSEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Cownose ray. Artwork of the underside of a cownose ray (Rhinoptera bonasus). The ray is a fish that lacks true bones. Like the related shark, it has a skeleton composed of cartilage. This ray can reach about 120 centimetres in width. It uses its broad "wings" to swim through its ocean environment. It feeds on shellfish, which it crushes using its powerful mouth (slit at upper left). The long tail (lower right) has a poisonous sting that is used for defence. The gills, which extract oxygen from the water, form two rows behind the mouth. The eyes are either side of the notched head hump. This ray, found in the tropical Atlantic Ocean, gives birth to live young.
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