Chattanooga, Tenn. (July 19, 2022) – The Tennessee Aquarium reached a significant milestone just in time for Shark Week with the recent hatching of three critically endangered Short-tail Nurse Shark pups.
The diminutive youngsters, which hatched July 7, are the product of three adult Short-tail Nurse Sharks – one male and two females – which arrived at the Aquarium along with eight juveniles and eight fertilized eggs from a facility in Canada last year.
Photo Credt: North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores
Bonnethead Sharks are the smallest of the Hammerhead Sharks. The purpose of their wide, shovel-like heads, known as cephalofoils, has been debated for decades. It is now believed that their flat heads, with eyes located on the outer edges, give them a very wide field of vision. Sharks in the Hammerhead family can see 360 degrees, meaning they can see to the front, to the sides, and behind themselves. The placement of the eyes also allows the Sharks to see above and below themselves as well.
Such a visual field is an advantage for any animal, allowing it to more easily spot predators and prey.
Bonnethead Sharks are found along the east and west coasts of North and South America. Adults are shy and harmless, growing three to five feet long. They are often seen swimming together in small groups.
It's not uncommon for aquarists at New England Aquarium to find shark eggs in its Trust Family Foundation Shark and Ray Touch Tank. Often, these eggs are not fertile, but a while back, keepers collected one that hatched some five months later, ushering in the arrival of a brand new baby female Epaulette Shark. Her stunning stripes will fade over time, leaving only dark spots, but as juveniles, these solid patterns serve to confuse potential predators in the wild.
For now, the tiny shark pup is most at ease hidden safely inside a piece of tubing in her nursery tank. Until she's old enough to join the rest of the group in the Touch Tank, visitors can meet her parents and watch for newly laid eggs!
You can read more about the epaulette shark baby and learn more about this fascinating species on the Aquarium's Exhibit Galleries Blog: http://galleries.neaq.org/search/label/epaulette%20shark Did you know they can slow down their body functions to survive in low oxygen environments?
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!”
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.
Four Pacific angel sharks were born at the Aquarium of Bay last week in San Francisco. These rare and unusual sharks were once plentiful off California but populations were decimated by overfishing in the 1980s. Researchers hope to learn more about how to protect wild angel sharks by studying the tiny pups.
Shark pups are born live and these little guys came wriggling into the world in late December at the Georgia Aquarium. Spotted wobbegongs are among the most sluggish of all sharks, laying on the sea floor waiting for prey to come to them. They grow up to 10ft (3.2m) long, but these pups are only 8.3 inches (21 cm).