The Fish Husbandry Team at Atlantis has some exciting news to share. In the past month, Atlantis has welcomed new additions to our marine family in The Ambassador Lagoon, with the births of 4 sting ray pups, and the tiniest treasure of all – baby sea horses!
A close up and personal introduction of these precious creatures is currently only possible on our Lost Chambers Back of House tours.
Blotched fantail ray births
One of the blotched fantail rays (Taeniura meyeni) in The Ambassador Lagoon gave birth to 4 rays on July 21st. Blotched rays are found in Indo-Pacific tropical waters and are characterised by the black blotches on their bodies, hence their name.
Almost all of their mates in The Ambassador Lagoon are local species – over 65,000 animals, and 250 species. Our Husbandry team was able to film the mating process to allow our guests learn more about these interesting marine creatures.
The 1.8m wide adult female produced 4 pups of 30cm disc width. These rays are aplacental viviparous, meaning that they give live birth to their young. Before birth, the young feed from a yolk sac and are later supplemented by histotroph, uterine milk produced by the mother.
Following the birth, Blotched fantail ray mothers do not care for their young and pups have to fend for themselves. After their discovery, the pups were transferred to our fish hospital where they are acclimating while receiving first class care. They are being closely monitored and fed without having to compete for food with other animals.
Sea Horses births
We are also proud to announce the birth of baby seahorses in The Lost Chambers. After a beautiful swaying dance and courtship, seahorses become mates for life. During this ritual, the female transfers the eggs into the males’ pouch. In the marine world, it is not uncommon for the male to play an important role in brooding and caring for eggs and fry. We see this in a number of different species, such as damselfish, cardinal fish, and cichlids. They either carry the eggs in their mouths or they fan their eggs with their fins to aerate and keep them clean and safe.
Two months ago, one of the adult males of a local species, Hippocampus fuscus gave birth to a large number of miniature replicas. This is one of the unique features of seahorses and pipefish, where the male experiences the release of the baby seahorses.
Although most males give birth to hundreds of babies, these babies struggle in the wild due to finding the right tasty food in the right bite size. It is important for these tiny seahorses to constantly graze because they have no stomach and therefore can never get full. Their favourite food is planktonic shrimp called Artemia, which is enriched with vitamins and microscopic algae.
Back of House Tour details
You can see these new additional, as well as amazing other species like the beautiful Cassiopeia – or upside down jellyfish – on Lost Chambers Back of House tours.”>The Lost Chambers Back of House Tour.
This incredible experience includes an insight into the heart of the life support systems, the state of the art fish hospital where new and sick species are either cared for or nursed back to health, fish food preparation quarters and an exclusive fish feeding from atop and behind the exhibits of the Lost Chambers. These tours are run daily and can be booked on our website, or calling 04-426-000.Spaces are limited, so booking is recommended to avoid disappointment.