A public aquarium in Hull has successfully bred the Blue-spotted stingray for the first time.
The Deep, Hull's enormous public aquarium, has just announced the birth of two babies from its Blue-spotted stingrays, Taeniura lymma.
They believe that the birth of the rays, which are a livebearing species, is the first recorded so far in captivity.
Senior Aquarist at The Deep, Kate Rigby said:
"Bluespotted ribbontail rays are very difficult to breed in captivity, so we're delighted that the naturalistic environment that we've created here at The Deep has proved to be conducive to their reproduction.
"The Deep's aquarist team, is giving them round-the-clock care and attention..."
"The first few weeks are crucial and The Deep's aquarist team, is giving them round-the-clock care and attention.
"As a member of the shark family, these rays play an important role in educating our visitors about different types of shark."
The Blue-spotted stingray is relatively widespread, with a distribution which extends from the Indo West Pacific to the Red Sea and the coast of Africa.
The species is sometimes seen for sale in the aquarium trade, although its large size (the disc can reach around 30cm/12" or more) means that it is only suitable for those with very large aquaria. It is also a relatively difficult species to keep in the standard aquarium, so it's not a species we'd recommend to the average fishkeeper.
Blue-spotted Stingray Fact File
Common names: Blue-spotted stingray, Bluespotted ribbontail ray
Scientific name: Taeniura lymma (Forrskal, 1775)
Family: Dasyatidae (Stingrays)
Class: Elasmobranchii (Sharks and rays)
Origin: Indo West Pacific, Red Sea, East Africa and as far across as Japan and southern Australia.
Size: Disc size up to 35cm/14", but the tail may measure double this.
Reproduction: This species is an ovoviviparous dasyatid ray, in which eggs remain inside the female until they hatch, so the ray gives birth to fully formed babies.
Notes: This reef-associated ray often occurs in small groups and feeds on crustaceans. Sharks and rays are both members of the Class Elasmobranchii and are commonly known elasmobranchs. However, although related to each other, sharks and rays are in entirely different families and in different Orders. This dasyatid ray is a member of the Mylobatiformes -- sharks, like the Great white are in the Order Carcharhiniformes, for example. There are 14 different Orders of fish in the Euselachii, a grouping which sits below the Elasmobranchii, which hold several hundred species of shark, ray, skate, guitar fish, torpedos and sawfishes.