VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Aquarium welcomed a newborn spotted eagle ray Monday.
The birth of the spotted eagle ray pup at the Aquarium makes it one of the only ten other Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institutions around the world.
Born to mother Sadana, aquarium officials say the sex of the pup and a naming contest will be announced in the coming weeks. Sadana also passed a nonviable pup shortly before the live pup. It is not uncommon for sharks and rays to be pregnant with multiple pups but have fewer remain viable through birth.
Newborn spotted eagle rays do not require parental care and are self-sufficient at birth. Currently, the pup is in an off-exhibit quarantine area while staff continue to closely monitor the diet, behavior, and welfare of the newborn animal.
Spotted eagle ray reproduction is exceedingly rare, and the typical gestation period can be from six to 13 months. Spotted eagle rays are listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and are included in a Species Survival Plan through AZA.
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