Cownose Ray at Diergaarde Blijdorp, Rotterdam (Holland)
The Cownose Ray is a species of Batoidea found throughout a large part of the western Atlantic and Caribbean, from New England, United States to southern Brazil. 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. A Cownose Ray is typically brown-backed with a whitish or yellowish belly. Although its colouration 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. 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.
Diergaarde Blijdorp, officially Rotterdam Zoo, is a zoo located in the northwestern part of Rotterdam. It is one of the oldest zoos in the Netherlands, and has been operated by the Stichting Koninklijke Rotterdamse Diergaarde ("Royal Rotterdam Zoo Foundation"). Divided into several zoogeographic regions, the 26-hectare (64.25-acre) Blijdorp Zoo is home to more than 180 species. It also has a shop, multiple cafes, and an information centre. The zoo is a member of the Dutch Zoo Federation (NVD) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). In 2007, it celebrated its 150th anniversary. The "Oceanium" is an aquarium that opened in the zoo in 2001.