In an incredible video, one of the Two Oceans Aquarium‘s stingrays was filmed giving birth a few days ago. Now, locals are filled with curiosity — “how big is a baby eagle ray?” has been the question on everybody’s minds.
Aquarist Leigh de Necker shared this photo with a newborn eagle ray — a great way to get a sense of scale.
Eagle rays (Myliobatis aquila) grow up to about 80cm across, but their size at birth actually depends on the size of their mother.
Eagle rays are ovoviviparous, which means that the eggs hatch inside the mother, and she retains and feeds the pups internally for some time before giving birth. Larger females are thus able to nurture their young to grow a little larger and are able to carry a larger number of babies.
Unfortunately, eagles rays are critically endangered in the wild. By carrying their young for about nine months, eagle rays are able to give birth to pups that are ready to fend for themselves almost as soon as they are born. But this slow reproductive strategy leaves the species unable to recover from the intense pressure that human fishing activities have put on them.
The Two Oceans’ four new eagle ray pups and their mother will eventually be released into the wild to contribute to their species, but for now, you can still visit these little ones at the Aquarium and learn all about them.
- Location: Dock Rd, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town.
- Website: www.aquarium.co.za
Picture: Facebook / Leigh de Necker