Mote Aquarium staff had an exciting surprise this morning — a new cownose ray pup! The pup was born in the Ray Tray touch pool, which includes cownose rays, an Atlantic stingray, and a yellow stingray. The ray pup will be moved to a behind-the-scenes area to be closely monitored by Aquarium staff and to grow before rejoining fellow rays on exhibit.

About cownose rays: These rays are pelagic (open-water), unlike bottom-dwelling rays such as the southern stingray, and can be found along the east coast of the United States, throughout the Gulf of Mexico, and other areas of the Atlantic Ocean. Cownose rays give birth to live young, usually one pup at a time. Gestation can vary, sometimes taking up to 11-12 months while other times lasting 5-6 months. As soon as pups are born, they are able to swim and feed on their own. Learn more about this species here.