How do you sex a stingray?

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Stingrays are relatively simple to breed in captivity, but in order be successful you'll obviously need a pair. So how do you sex a stingray?

At sexual maturity, male rays have external sexual organs called claspers which are visible near the base of the tail. 

Effectively, these are two penis-like organs that lie within modified pelvic fins and are used to internally fertilise the female. Claspers are often “rolled up” which makes them harder to spot. 

They’re also smaller in younger specimens, so they can be overlooked more easily. Females typically grow to larger sizes than males and have a greater disc diameter.

This item was first published in the September 2009 issue of Practical Fishkeeping magazine. It may not be reproduced without written permission.