Shark & Stingray

'Sweet Pea' is First Shark Ray to Give Birth in Captivity

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Kentucky's Newport Aquarium has announced that Sweet Pea, the first documented Shark Ray to breed in a controlled environment, gave birth to seven pups on January 24! Coincidentally, Sweet Pea's pups arrived during the same week as an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) report estimating that one in four shark and ray species are at risk of extinction. Shark Rays are considered a vulnerable species. 

With Sweet Pea housed at an offsite facility in Northern Kentucky, the first pup arrived at 12:25 a.m. ET. A total of three females and three males survived the nearly five-hour birthing process, while a fourth female pup did not. Newport Aquarium now has 10 shark rays in all, which is the most in the world from any one institution.

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4 sharkrayPhoto credits: Newport Aquarium / Justin Cain (4-8)

See a video from the birth:


See a video of the pups:


Three high definition surveillance cameras were installed at the offsite facility earlier in the week to monitor Sweet Pea’s progress. With this technology, Newport Aquarium officials had the ability to remotely watch Sweet Pea online.

General Curator Mark Dvornak first noticed the pups at around 5:20 a.m. while checking the live video feed on his tablet from his home. He immediately sent an alert out to the rest of the husbandry staff and by 5:35 a.m. biologists were on site monitoring the six newborn pups.

“Seeing the live video feed of the small pups swimming around was a bit surreal this morning,” said Dvornak. “Racing into work, I felt a bit of trepidation too as I realized our seven-year dream of successfully breeding these wondrous creatures had become reality.”

See and read more after the fold!

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Yipes! Stripes!


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.


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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: Did you know they can slow down their body functions to survive in low oxygen environments?

Stingray Pups!


Babies have been born to two new Stingrays which arrived at Bristol Zoo last summer. Nine Ocellated Freshwater Stingray pups were born last week after two new females were introduced to the Zoo’s male stingray last year. The new females, sisters named Catalina & Genevieve, arrived at Bristol Zoo from Weston Seaquarium and have wasted little time in breeding. Catalina has produced six pups and three pups are from Genevieve.

The babies, six females and three males, are around just 12cm (4.7 inches) long and will eventually grow to the size of a car tyre. They have now been moved into a separate, off-show tank to keep them safe from larger predators in the display tank. In the coming months they will be re-homed, once they are bigger and stronger.


Photo credit: Lucy King

Jonny Rudd, assistant curator of the aquarium at Bristol Zoo, said: “I’m really pleased that the new pairings of our stingrays has led to the birth of these pups. Our male, called Gamma, is still relatively young and smaller than the females but that obviously hasn’t had any adverse effects.”

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Living Coasts Aquarium Breeds First Venomous Fish


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!”


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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.

Angel Shark Pups No Bigger than Your Hand

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.

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Adult angel shark below

Pacific Angel Shark

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Stingray Babies Are Cute Too

The Houston Zoo's Kipp Aquarium has seven tiny new additions to its growing family. (The Zoo) is proud to announce the birth of seven baby stingrays. Their mom and dad are checkerboard freshwater stingrays, a species from South America. Dad can be seen swimming in Kipp Aquarium, while mom and babies are staying in their cozy tanks in the Aquarium Quarantine until they are ready to go out and meet the public.



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Baby Stingrays at the Florida Aquarium

One of the aquarium's oldest resident, Rosanne Barb, gave birth to five pups September 9th, 2008. Stingrays give birth to live, wriggling young, that pop out rolled up like a cannoli.

Stingrays give birth to live, wriggling young, that pop out rolled up like a cannoli.

Like holding a little spaceship.

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