Sport

Coffin ray will knock you sideways with its electric jolt

HE’LL MAKE YOU JUMP: The numbfish or coffin ray – an example of which (above) John Quarry photographed after it washed up on Airforce Beach, Evans Head – is renowned for packing a pretty solid electric shock.
HE’LL MAKE YOU JUMP: The numbfish or coffin ray – an example of which (above) John Quarry photographed after it washed up on Airforce Beach, Evans Head – is renowned for packing a pretty solid electric shock.

READER John Quarry was curious about this critter he photographed after it washed up on Airforce Beach at Evans Head last week.

It's a numbfish or coffin ray (Hypnos monopterygium), renowned for packing a pretty solid electric shock. I waded within about five metres of a hooked one many years ago in Wallaga Lake, on the South Coast, and we all felt through the water something like periodic jolts from an electric fence.

I've seen coffin rays in the Evans River, a haven for all sorts of rays. I saw this one on the beach and it was a whopper, around the maximum size of 60cm.

The Australian Museum says the electric organs are located at the base of the pectoral fins and are capable of generating shocks of more than 1000 volts and 50 amps - way more than you get from mains power.

The ray shocks crabs, worms and quite large fish prior to swallowing them whole through its cavernous gob.

But, the museum's website says, their diet is not restricted to these. There are records of numbfish swallowing rats and even penguins.

a numbfish or coffin ray
a numbfish or coffin ray

As with all rays, if you hook one it's best to cut the line as close to the mouth as is safely possible and let the hook rust out.

The sting from even the smallest ray can pack an awful punch.

I stepped on a common stingaree that hit me at Shark Beach at Evans on Christmas Eve, 1993 while swimming in murky water.

The barb struck at the base of the second toe and felt like a jab from a nail - and then somebody connected it to a power socket!

The small wound bled profusely and hurt immediately, about a 7 on a scale of 10 (with a kidney stone the undisputed 10).

I followed the standard first aid of frequently soaking the foot in hot water and even applied the old Fijian trick of chewing on the white stem of a young pandanus leaf and spitting the stuff into the water.

I don't know whether the pandanus made any difference clinically but the taste temporarily took my mind off the pain!

Topics:  editors picks, fishing, outdoor-living




Splendour organisers offer free rides after bus chaos

Jenna Podolczak posts this picture of festival-goers "sleeping in the mud" to the Splendour in the Grass Facebook page.

Festival-goers resorted to walking home along highways last night.

Have you seen this man? Investigations into Bangalow theft underway

Police believe the man shown in these cctv images may be able to assist with the investigation of a Bangalow theft.

The man may be able to assist police with investigations.

Politician cancels Splendour gig

DEBATE: Tony Jones' Q&A; at Splendour is one of the most popular non-music-related events of the festival.

Changes in the line up for Q&A with Tony Jones tomorrow

Latest deals and offers

Guy Sebastian a hit at Splendour in the Grass

Guy Sebastian performs at Splendour in the Grass with Paces.

REALITY TV judge a hit with festival crowd.

Splendour revellers cool down with giant emoji

The Mr Poopie sculpture at Splendour in the Grass.

Mr Poopie sculpture is inspired by the ice cream/poop emoticon.

Superheroes of the big screen enjoy sounds of Splendour

CHRIS Hemsworth and his Avengers mates drop by Byron festival.

Indigenous artist shows tourists secrets of Aboriginal painting

Ever thought "I could do that" about Aboriginal art?

Dynamic pics from Splendour Day 1

The Strokes perform at Splendour in the Grass 2016. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

Check out the latest pictures from Splendour in the Grass.

Politician cancels Splendour gig

DEBATE: Tony Jones' Q&A; at Splendour is one of the most popular non-music-related events of the festival.

Changes in the line up for Q&A with Tony Jones tomorrow

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

Massive residential 9-storey high-rise hit by delays

An artist’s impression of the eight-storey-high apartment complex that Bernoth Holdings wants to build in South Toowoomba, next to the City Golf Club.

Developer struggles to get approved high-rise development started