October 31, 2014
A quartet of southern stingrays has been born at Newquay’s Blue Reef Aquarium.
Newquay has been so successful breeding this particular species of stingray in captivity it has been able to provide captive-bred individuals to a number of other UK aquariums.
The aquarium now plans to halt its breeding programme to avoid any unwanted additional births.
Blue Reef’s Sophia Medine said: “We’re delighted with the new arrivals who are being looked after in our quarantine area after having been born in our main ocean display.
“We plan to send these offspring to our sister Blue Reef Aquariums in the UK where they will eventually be able to for part of a satellite breeding programme for the species,” she added.
Found throughout the tropical and subtropical waters of the southern Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico they mainly feed on shrimp, small fish and bivalves like clams.
In order to find prey buried in the seabed they force jets of water through their mouth to blast the sand away
Southern stingrays have a gestation period of about six months. The eggs hatch within the mother’s body and the pups are born folded up like a newspaper.
In the wild they must immediately fend for themselves and it is believed their tail stings are fully functional from the moment they emerge from their mothers.
Related to sharks, stingrays get their name from the razor-sharp barb on their tails which the animal uses to defend itself when threatened.
Fully grown females can reach lengths of up to two metres and the heaviest recorded specimen weighed more than 135 kgs.
Although southern stingrays are not under threat in the wild at least nine other species of stingrays are at high risk of extinction.
Issued by Blue Reef. For more information and to arrange interviews please contact Sophia Medine on 01637 878134.