Stingray

Rare Stingray Pups On-Exhibit at Zoo Basel

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Zoo Basel welcomed nine rare Black-tailed Antenna Stingrays on November 5th. The small, yet sensational pups are doing well and can be seen in the zoo’s aquarium exhibit.

The Black-tailed Antenna Stingray (Plesiotrygon nana), also known as the Dwarf Antenna Ray, is a freshwater Stingray that is native to the rivers and sections of the rear Amazon Basin in Eastern Peru. The small Stingray was scientifically described for the first time in 2011. They are one of two recognized species in the family Potamotrygonidae (the other being the Long-tailed River Stingray).

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4_schwarzschwanz_antennenrochen_jungtier_ZO25466Photo Credits: Zoo Basel

The species does not lay eggs. Stingrays are ovoviviparous: bearing live young in litters of five to 13. The female holds the embryos in the womb without a placenta. Instead, the embryos absorb nutrients from a yolk sac, and after the sac is depleted, the mother provides uterine "milk". Shortly before the actual birth, the young press themselves out of the eggshell and are immediately independent.

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Blue-spotted Stingrays Smile for the Camera

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The National Sea Life Centre Birmingham, in the UK, is celebrating the arrival of three Blue-spotted Stingray babies. This is a first-ever for the city centre based Breed, Rescue, Protect team.

Native to the eastern and western Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean, the graceful creatures are a high-risk species, also known as Maskrays, and are currently being threatened by overfishing, exploitation and the destruction of coral reefs. Only breeding once a year, three successful Blue-spotted Stingrays births, from two different mums, is a huge success for The National Sea Life Centre Birmingham.

The babies weighed less than 170g, measured less than 30cm long and 16cm wide, when they were first born a few weeks ago. The miniature miracles could grow up to 47cm wide and 70cm long, with a very venomous barb of up to 30cm long. They are easily distinguished by their reddish brown bodies, distinctive blue centers, and scattered black and blue spots.

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3_Blue-spotted Stingrays born at The National Sea Life Centre BirminghamPhoto Credits: National SEA LIFE Centre Birmingham

The National Sea Life Centre Birmingham’s Aquarist, Naomi Bird, is perfectly placed to help the three very precious babies. A mum to be herself, it isn’t the first time her maternal instinct has been called upon at the attraction. She has already raised the penguin colony, which absolutely adores her.

Naomi commented, “Blue-spotted Stingrays face serious threat from human-induced problems. If we want them around in our children’s lifetime, it is important we act now. So we are absolutely delighted that two of our resident Blue-spotted Stingrays have bred successfully. I’d encourage everyone to take time to explore our underwater world in the heart of the city centre to learn more and support SEA LIFE’s work to protect and preserve our precious sea creatures.”

The Blue-spotted Stingray (Neotrygon kuhlii), or Kuhl's stingray, is a species of stingray of the Dasyatidae family. It was recently changed from Dasyatis kuhlii in 2008 after morphological and molecular analyses show that it is part of a distinct genus, Neotrygon.

The body of the species is rhomboidal and green with blue spots. Maximum width is estimated 46.5 centimeters (18.3 in).

The stingray's lifespan is estimated thirteen years of age for females and ten years for males.

The Blue-spotted Stingray feeds on shrimp, small bony fish, mollusks, crabs and other worms. Due to the fact that this ray is a shallow bottom feeder, it has a small variety of marine life to prey on. The species overpowers its prey by pinning them to the bottom of the seafloor with its fins. It has numerous tiny teeth, with the lower jaw being slightly convex. Like most stingrays, they also have plate-like teeth to crush prey.

They are generally found from Indonesia to Japan, and most of Australia. This stingray species is also targeted by many parasites such as: tapeworms, flatworms, and flukes.

The Blue-spotted Stingray is ovoviviparous (the embryos are retained in eggs within the mother's body until they are ready to hatch). The embryos receive nourishment from the mothers' uterine fluid. Mothers give birth to up to seven pups per litter; these pups range from 6 inches (150 mm) to 13 inches (330 mm) long at birth.

The species currently has no official classification by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. According to the IUCN Red List: “The Bluespotted Maskray (Neotrygon kuhlii) is reported throughout a wide range in the Indo-Pacific region, but may be a species-complex of more than five species. Investigation is vital to resolve the taxonomic issues associated with this species-complex and due to this taxonomic uncertainty it is not possible to assess the species beyond Data Deficient at present. The Bluespotted Maskray species-complex is extensively exploited in parts of its range, and is often abundant in Asian fish market landings. A relatively small stingray (to 47 cm disc width), it is likely more resilient to exploitation than larger inshore batoids, but overall management of catches is lacking across most of its range. It is a common bycatch of Australian prawn trawl fisheries where it is discarded. Information is generally required on catch rates and rates of fishing mortality across its range; the significance of this may be dependent on the taxonomic status of the species-complex as some species may be found to have restricted occurrences. It is also exhibited in some public aquariums, but does not constitute a major species in aquarium trade. Further work is required to identify the species involved and make full assessments of their status.”

Visitors to the National Sea Life Centre Birmingham can catch a glimpse of the new arrivals as part of the attraction’s “Behind the Scenes Tour” experience (available to pre-book with the best value or ultimate tickets packages online or for purchase at admissions). For further information, or to pre-book tickets online before your visit, please go to: www.SEALIFE.co.uk/birmingham/

For regular news, updates and competitions, The National Sea Life Centre Birmingham is also on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/sealifebirmingham and Twitter https://twitter.com/sealifebham


Peek Behind-the-scenes at Tennessee Aquarium's Baby Stingrays!

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A new Haller's Round Stingray arrived at the Tennessee Aquarium with a surprise of her own to share: she gave birth to a litter of five on October 21, soon after her arrival. Each baby now measures about three inches (7.6 cm), minus the tail, and could grow to be slightly larger than 12 inches (30 cm) in disk size as adults. Stingrays give birth to live young, which absorb nutrients from a yolk sac and then a special uterine 'milk' before birth. Born fully developed, the babies are immediately able to swim and feed, requiring no parental care. 

The mother gave birth while going through a routine quarantine period. The mother and eight other adult Stingrays acquired at the same time will be put on display in the zoo's touch tank once the quarantine period is complete. The babies will be raised off-exhibit until they are large enough to be displayed. 

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5 stingrayPhoto credits: Nikki Eisenmenger / Tennessee Aquarium

The Haller’s Round Stingray is a common species native to the coastal waters of the eastern Pacific. Haller’s Round Stingrays prefer sandy or muddy bottoms in shallow waters close to beaches. Round sting rays eat primarily benthic invertebrates – organisms that live in or on the sediment of the ocean floor - and small fish. 


Stingray Pups!

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Babies have been born to two new Stingrays which arrived at Bristol Zoo last summer. Nine Ocellated Freshwater Stingray pups were born last week after two new females were introduced to the Zoo’s male stingray last year. The new females, sisters named Catalina & Genevieve, arrived at Bristol Zoo from Weston Seaquarium and have wasted little time in breeding. Catalina has produced six pups and three pups are from Genevieve.

The babies, six females and three males, are around just 12cm (4.7 inches) long and will eventually grow to the size of a car tyre. They have now been moved into a separate, off-show tank to keep them safe from larger predators in the display tank. In the coming months they will be re-homed, once they are bigger and stronger.

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Photo credit: Lucy King

Jonny Rudd, assistant curator of the aquarium at Bristol Zoo, said: “I’m really pleased that the new pairings of our stingrays has led to the birth of these pups. Our male, called Gamma, is still relatively young and smaller than the females but that obviously hasn’t had any adverse effects.”

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Living Coasts Aquarium Breeds First Venomous Fish

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Living Coasts Aquarium has bred a venomous fish for the first time. The new arrival is the first Blue Spotted Stingray is only the second one ever born in the UK. According to Living Coasts zoo keeper Stuart McGeachie, “It was born in July, live and fully formed, complete with stinging barb and claspers - male appendages. It was about 10 centimeters across - they grow to around 30 to 35 centimeters.”

Torquay’s coastal zoo is home to three adult blue spotted stingrays – males Zorro and Baby Boy, and female Baby Boo. McGeachie added, “We are not sure which male is the father, as both were seen trying to mate with the female. Zorro is the larger of the two, so we suspect it is him!”

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Photo credits: Living Coasts Aquarium

Living Coasts director Elaine Hayes said: “They are seen in aquariums, but they get confused with blue-spotted ribbontail rays (Taeniura lymma ). Because of this it is very difficult to establish numbers. The records say there are just 42 in collections, with only 3 births in the last 12 months, not including ours.”

The blue spotted stingray (Dasyatis kuhlii) is light green with blue spots. A member of the shark family, this saltwater fish is found in shallow tropical waters. It has venomous barbs on its tail.


Stingray Babies Are Cute Too

The Houston Zoo's Kipp Aquarium has seven tiny new additions to its growing family. (The Zoo) is proud to announce the birth of seven baby stingrays. Their mom and dad are checkerboard freshwater stingrays, a species from South America. Dad can be seen swimming in Kipp Aquarium, while mom and babies are staying in their cozy tanks in the Aquarium Quarantine until they are ready to go out and meet the public.

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Baby Stingrays at the Florida Aquarium

One of the aquarium's oldest resident, Rosanne Barb, gave birth to five pups September 9th, 2008. Stingrays give birth to live, wriggling young, that pop out rolled up like a cannoli.

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Stingrays give birth to live, wriggling young, that pop out rolled up like a cannoli.

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Like holding a little spaceship.

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