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

Commercial fishers get extension, but it makes no difference

Ballina trawler harbour.

Deadline extended for NSW fishers buying back into the industry

Sex attacker slapped with strict supervision upon release

Violent sex offender's life after jail no walk in the park

Boogie woogie beauty took the world by storm

The grave of Winifred Atwell  at the Memorial gardens at South Gundurimba.

Photo Jacklyn Wagner / The Northern Star

International star who wanted to be buried on the Northern Rivers

Local Partners

David Attenborough on facing his mortality

Sir David Attenborough in a scene from the TV special The Death of the Oceans.

Life without Sir David Attenborough is hard to imagine

Goooodbye Hamish and Andy (from our radios)

Hamish and Andy

The pair have been on air since 2006

Saying "I do" changed Shia's outlook on marriage

Shia LaBeouf has a new outlook on marriage since he tied the knot.

Singer tunes in to first movie role

Tori Kelly voices the character Meena in the movie Sing.

Musician Tori Kelly voices Meena the teenage elephant in Sing

Cricketing greats bring Aussie mateship to commentary box

Cricket commentator Adam Gilchrist.

ADAM Gilchrist enjoys the fun of calling the Big Bash League.

The dead help solve the case

Debut novel delivers on wit, violence and shock

Chinese locked out of Australian property market

The rules are different if you're a foreigner

The buyer was from China - the trouble started right there

Morrison signs off on new affordable rental model

Australia's Treasurer Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference after a meeting of the Council of Federal Financial Relations at Parliament House in Canberra, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.

Scott Morrison signed off on development of a new financing model

Coast high-flyer's fight back from bankruptcy, $72m debt

Scott Juniper went from millionaire developer to declaring bankruptcy in2012, now he is back on top of his game again with new developments including this one in Coolum.

'Apocalyptic lending storm' causes financial collapse.

How your home can earn you big $$$$ this Christmas

This luxury Twin Waters home rents out over Christmas for more than $6000 a week.

Home owners earning thousands renting out their homes this Christmas

2000 jobs at multi-million dollar Ipswich project

INSIDE: Artist's impressions of the interior of the new Eastern Heights aged care precinct.

Sub-contractors needed to build $15m aged care facility

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!