More Torpedo Rays Raise More Questions

The torpedo mystery continues and deepens.  You may have already read in Turtle Journal about the first three torpedo rays that washed up on Cape Cod beaches.  (See Shocking Discovery! Torpedo Ray in Wellfleet Bay and Torpedoes Los!).  Since our last posting, two more torpedo ray deaths have been confirmed: one in Brewster and another in Sandwich.  Both were females, bringing the total to five dead torpedo rays; four confirmed as female, one not examined by the Turtle Journal team.

Cellphone Picture of Female Torpedo Ray in Brewster

On Sunday evening, we received correspondence from Jackie, a Turtle Journal reader from Chatham on the elbow of Cape Cod.  She had encountered an unidentified creature, presumably a skate, on the beach between Ellis and Linnell Landings in Brewster on October 31st.  Jackie estimated the length and the width of the animal to be around three feet.  Realizing that what she found was not a skate, she searched the web to find our postings of the torpedo ray.  While Jackie apologizes for the photo quality (since it came from her cellphone), her images provide excellent documentation of the torpedo ray and its gender identification.  Thank you, Jackie!

Fifth Torpedo Ray to Wash Up on Cape Cod Beaches

Mystery torpedo ray number five drifted ashore in Sandwich.  At noon yesterday (Monday), Vinny from Sandwich … the resident who reported the third torpedo ray last week … called the Turtle Journal 24/7 hotline (508-274-5108).  He found another ray on Carlton Shoals in Sandwich, just a little further to the east than his first discovery.  Luckily, Sue Wieber Nourse was exploring Sandy Neck in neighboring Barnstable and responded to the site to examine the specimen. 

Seagull Munches on Torpedo Ray at Carlton Shores, Sandwich

By the time she arrived, local gulls were licking their chops in delight after munching another tasty seafood morsel.  They had already stipped clean the caudal fin, making length measurements a bit iffy at approximately 3.5 feet.  The width of this torpedo ray across the pectoral fin was two feet three inches.  (You may recall that the other Sandwich torpedo ray measured two feet five inches across its pecs.)  Without Don’s back for a more precise (sic) measurement of the critter’s weight, Sue estimated the weight at around 40 pounds.

Questions still loom about why we are seeing these offshore rays washing up on our inner Cape Cod beaches this fall.  So far, Turtle Journal has no answers to share.

One Response to “More Torpedo Rays Raise More Questions”

  1. […] had reported previously about Shocking Discovery! Torpedo Ray in Wellfleet Bay, Torpedoes Los!, and More Torpedo Rays Raise More Questions.  Today’s reports add to the mystery of torpedo ray strandings on bayside beaches this […]