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Oceanworld Manly unveils ‘miraculous’ baby Eagle Rays

Oceanworld Manly unveils ‘miraculous’ baby Eagle Rays
February 22, 2011

Oceanworld Manly has unveiled 12 healthy Southern Eagle Rays born under incredible circumstances.

Placed on display to public for the first time yesterday morning (Monday 21st February) the Southern Eagle Ray (Myliobatis australis) pups were born as a result of a fascinating display of natural behaviour.

The mother Southern Eagle Rays have been without male company since they arrived at Oceanworld Manly in January 2009. So, it was much to the delight of Oceanworld staff when both Southern Eagle Rays delivered pups in January this year.

Oceanworld Manly stresses this was not a case of 'immaculate conception', but was probably the result of sperm storage. Sperm storage is a strategy that has been recorded in several other elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) where the female will store sperm in her reproductive tract for extended periods and only produce offspring when the conditions are optimal.

Rob Townsend, Life Sciences Manager at Oceanworld Manly explains "as far as we know, the two years that this sperm was stored is the longest duration of sperm storage for this species.

"After spending a few weeks in our quarantine facility where we performed health checks and ensured they were eating well, they are now ready to move into our display tanks."

The baby Eagle Rays were moved into display tanks on Monday morning.

When fully grown, Eagle rays grow up to 2.4 metres in length and have large pointed wings that they use to 'fly' through the water, which is how they got their common name.

Oceanworld Manly has an excellent history in captive breeding programs, with success with Seahorses, Cuttlefish, Port Jackson, Bamboo and Epaulette Sharks as well as the threatened Black Cod and critically endangered Grey Nurse Shark.

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