Wildlife officials pulled up a behemoth catch while surveying waters between Connecticut and Long Island, New York, photos show.
While out on the Long Island Sound, a crew caught a 400-pound roughtail stingray, along with a “large predatory fish” called a cobia, according to a Thursday, Sept. 28, Facebook post from Connecticut Fish and Wildlife. The department shared photos of both animals, wowing people in the comments with their size.
“Our Long Island Sound Trawl Survey crew never knows what they might see on a given day out on the Sound – yesterday was a stand-out example,” the post says.
In the photo, the roughtail stingray was lying on its “ventral side,” which means its belly was facing up, the post says.
The roughtail stingray, which has a venomous barb like most other rays, was 6 feet long and 5 feet wide, the post says. The maximum size of roughtail stingrays is about 7 feet, according to field guide Sharks and Rays.
Despite their dangerous tail, roughtail stingrays are “gentle giants,” the post says, and avoid shallow areas where people typically swim.
Stingrays like the one caught Wednesday, Sept. 27, are found all down the Atlantic coast from New England to Florida, wildlife officials say, but a sighting in the Long Island Sound is “relatively rare.” They prefer “temperate and tropical seas,” according to Sharks and Rays.
“Rather than attempt to roll the animal over, our crew quickly took some measurements and immediately returned the ray to the water to watch it swim away alive and well,” wildlife officials said in the post.
The crew’s other catch of the day was the cobia, which can grow up to 6 feet long, the post says. They are typically “most abundant” south of the Chesapeake Bay, the post says, but climate change has caused them to be “an increasingly common visitor to Long Island Sound.”
Cobia are known to eat crabs, shrimp, squid and other small fish, according to the Chesapeake Bay Program. They also are considered to somewhat aggressive when an angler reels them in, as they typically fight back.
The two catches were a part of the Long Island Sound Trawl Survey, which aims to “measure the abundance and distribution of finfish, squid and other macro-invertebrates” in the body of water, according to the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection.