Rare Stingray Pups On-Exhibit at Zoo Basel
November 30, 2016
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).
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.
It is believed that Zoo Basel is the only public institution in Europe that keeps the species in its aquarium.
More than 600 species of Stingrays live in the Earth’s seas. While most Stingrays are relatively widespread and not currently threatened, several species (Taeniura meyeni, D. colarensis, D. garouaensis, and D. laosensis) are listed as “Vulnerable” or “Endangered” by the IUCN. The status of several other species, such as the Black-tailed Antenna, is poorly known and currently listed as “Data Deficient”.