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Shark To Be Multiple Mum

March 18, 2013

Nursehound shark egg cases

A shark which was close to death after spending several hours out of the water on the deck of a fishing boat has amazed aquarists at Hastings’ Blue Reef Aquarium by producing close to 20 eggs.

The native nursehound was donated to the aquarium after it was accidentally caught during a fishing trip. The shark was on the verge of dying, however an aquarist managed to save her and effectively bring her back to life.

After spending time in quarantine she was released in to a large open-top display alongside a male shark.

Almost immediately the two sharks started mating and to date they have produced 17 eggs, which are being looked after in a separate nursery tank.

The shark began laying eggs in December and aquarists are hoping the first babies will be born in late summer.

Blue Reef’s Chris Ireland said: “The successful breeding of native marine species is becoming more and more important and the amazing success story of this particular species of shark is fabulous news.

“Female sharks usually only lay a handful of ‘live’ eggs a season so for us to have so many which appear to be viable is amazing.

“Our team of aquarists work really hard to try and ensure conditions in our displays are as close to those in the wild as possible.

“One of the best indicators that you have a healthy community is when they breed successfully, he added.

The bull huss – or nursehound –  is a member of the dogfish family. It is usually found over rocky seabeds and broken ground where the mottled appearance of the fish blends into the background.

Bull huss mate in the autumn and the females lay their eggs in shallow water close to shore. When the Bull Huss hatches they are exact miniatures of the adults and begin feeding almost immediately.

Their diet includes mussels, oysters, crabs, lobsters, fish, squid, cuttlefish and octopus. Fully grown they can reach lengths in excess of 1.6 metres and weigh over 10kgs.