As I believe I have mentioned in an earlier post, I really don’t do fish, bony or cartilaginous. Still, I made a promise to myself that I was going to make this blog more aquarium friendly, and that means more fish stories. With that in mind, I’d like to share some of the most exciting news from the aquarium world today – the birth of six (seven if you count the stillborn) shark rays at the Newport Aquarium.
A shark ray (also called guitarfish) is pretty much what it sounds like – a fish that looks like a cross between a ray and a shark… and a guitar. Sharks and rays are actually very closely related, both being fish with skeletons of cartilage. I don’t know much about these guys and have never seen one before. That shouldn’t be too surprising, because I’ve never been diving in the Indo-Pacific region, and as far as I can tell they are exhibited at Newport, and Newport only. This marks the first birth of this species in captivity.
Here's some old footage of the aquarium's shark rays, just to give a feel for them...
Sweet Pea, the proud mamma herself, hasn’t been on display lately – recognizing her need for privacy, the aquarists removed her off-exhibit, but monitored her via remote cameras. I think that is actually one of the coolest parts of this story (besides, I mean, the actual birth) – that the birth was first noticed by a curator checking up his charge with his tablet… at home… at 5AM. The staff was on the scene in minutes. Devotion!
Congratulations to Newport Aquarium on their historic first. I hope to get out way one of these days, but maybe if they have enough success, captive-bred shark rays will be seen at aquariums across America. Good luck with the little ones!