August 12, 2013
The tiny thornback rays, each measuring just 10cms across, were hatched from egg-cases donated by Hastings’ sister aquarium in Bristol.
They are now on show in the aquarium’s shoreline display and will progress through a series of larger displays as they get bigger until they are moved in to the main open-topped ray display when they are fully grown.
Blue Reef’s Chris Ireland said: “Of the 10 egg-cases which were given to us by Bristol Aquarium, all have hatched and produced fit and healthy baby rays.
“It’s unusual for all the eggs to have hatched successfully and we’re delighted to have got a 100% success rate.
“The babies are exact miniature replicas of their parents and look extremely cute in their new display.
“Once fully mature we’re hoping they will also breed here, providing a new generation of captive bred rays here at the aquarium,” he added.
Thornbacks are the most common ray in British waters and can grow up to 1.2 metres in length. The species gets its name from the coarse prickles which cover their upper body.
Rays belong to the same family as sharks and are effectively ‘flattened-out’ versions of their close cousins. UK waters are home to at least 15 different species of ray including the electric ray and the common skate, which can reach lengths of up to three metres.