Baby boom at Weston Seaquarium
By Prue_Reid | Thursday, January 31, 2013, 09:05
A SUCCESSFUL breeding programme at Weston-super-Mare's Seaquarium has led to a baby boom.
One of the new baby rays at the Seaquarium.
The seafront seaquarium has welcomed 16 new arrivals of Thornback Rays – each of which measure between six and seven centimetres.
The Seaquarium has also adopted a number of captive bred juvenile rays from Chessington Zoo and Sealife Centre.
Thornback Rays are native to British waters and lay leathery egg cases known as 'mermaids purses'. The young hatch free swimming but still dependent on their yolk sac for a few weeks before they begins to feed upon shrimps.
Once an adult it can grow to a maximum size of 90 - 100cm with the females growing slightly larger.
The thornback Ray is listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list as near threatened with a decline showing in wild populations.
This species is one of the most abundant giving perspective on some of the rarer species found around our coast like the Undulate Ray which are classified Endangered.
SeaQuarium displays manager, Hayley Wood, said: "These captive breeding programmes across UK aquaria are essential to keep these amazing creatures on display and to raise awareness for their conservation.
"Our Ray Zone is one of SeaQuarium's most popular exhibits and in order to display these graceful juvenile fish we have adapted out 36,000L ray pool to contain a partitioned area you might call a ' ray nursery' for our adopted rays and later our own captive bred babies"
The Seaquarium 'Ray Nursery' is open daily and included in the admission price and the baby rays can be seen throughout February half term.