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If everything goes according to plan, uShaka Marine World could soon be home to a few more thorntail rays.
The South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR), based at uShaka, shared a video of an expectant mother thorntail ray via its Facebook page, asking if viewers could pick up the movements of the babies through the animal’s skin. They said they were “eagerly anticipating” the arrival of the pups.
In 2014, nine newborn thorntail rays were found swimming in the Open Ocean Exhibit, after being born on December 17 and 18 that year.
“The babies, born on December 17, were left in the exhibit while staff waited for a second pregnant female to give birth. She did so 11 days later, bringing the baby total to nine,” said uShaka at the time via its website.
They explained that newborn pups were almost identical miniature replicas of their parents and independent from birth.
“They are capable of surviving without food for several days before needing to catch prey. Avoiding predation is their primary focus after birth, as they are the favourite food of many ocean predators, particularly sharks.”