A blue-spotted fantail ray (Taeniura lymma) was born at the Vancouver Aquarium on August 23, 2013. When it was born, senior Aquarium biologist Hannah Evans said, “It was about the size of a CD.”
She says she first knew the female was pregnant because she had seen mating behaviour between the female and one of the males. The female, subsequently, started to look “plump.” An ultrasound confirmed that there was a pup on the way. While the gestation period for this stingray species ranges from four to twelve months, Hannah says the gestation period for this female was seven months.
Stingrays don’t provide any parental care to their offspring, and in fact can be a danger to them, so this pup was moved into its own enclosure as soon as it was born. This also gives Hannah the chance to more closely monitor it as it continues to grow.
This is the first blue-spotted fantail stingray birth at the Aquarium. Hannah says this Indo-West Pacific species is not as common in aquariums as other stingray species, partly because they are considered to be more difficult to keep. She says that this birth has been a great way to learn more about raising this species.
See the adult blue-spotted fantail rays in the Aquarium’s Tropic Zone.
Written by Karen Horak, writer-editor, content and digital experience at the Vancouver Aquarium.