Daddy stingray joins offspring at Blue Reef

Daddy stingray settling in to his new home at Hastings Blue Reef Aquarium
Daddy stingray settling in to his new home at Hastings Blue Reef Aquarium

A giant southern stingray has joined his offspring at Hastings Blue Reef Aquarium.

Earlier this year a quintet of captive-bred baby stingrays were donated to the Rock-a-Nore Road wildlife attraction by their sister Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay.

Now the babies’ father, who measures more than a metre across, has also made the long journey from Cornwall to be reunited with his babies.

Blue Reef’s Leanna Lawson said: “The captive breeding programme in Newquay has been so successful they decided it was time to move the adult male on and they asked us if we would like to look after him.

“We were only too pleased to accept as he is a fantastic specimen and looks amazing in our tropical ocean display.

“He has settled in really well and is proving a spectacular addition to the giant tank.”

The quintet of baby stingrays joined Blue Reef Aquarium in January.

The southern stingrays were born at the end of September last year and are part of a highly successful captive breeding programme at the attraction’s sister aquarium in Newquay. They were transported in special containers to Hastings.

Keepers at the aquarium decided to name the quintet after the members of One Direction; Harry, Louis, Zayn, Niall and Liam.

Southern stingrays have a gestation period of about six months.

The eggs hatch within the mother’s body and the pups are born live folded up like a newspaper.

In the wild they must immediately fend for themselves and it is believed their tail stings are fully functional from the moment they emerge from their mothers.

Related to sharks, stingrays get their name from the razor-sharp barb on their tails which the animal uses to defend itself when threatened.

Fully grown females can reach lengths of up to two metres and the heaviest recorded specimen weighed more than 135 kgs.