Newport Aquariums newest shark ray dies of mating injury

The Newport Aquarium boasts having the “largest collection of shark rays on display in the world.” However, the aquarium is down one shark ray after their latest addition, a 6-year-old female, died on Monday, according to a USA Today report.

Shark rays (Rhina ancylostoma), also known as bowmouth guitarfish, have a distinctive appearance with broad rounded head like a “traditional” ray with dorsal and caudal fins similar in appearance to sharks. The species is typically found in Indo-Pacific waters and spends most of its time on the ocean floor. The shark ray is listed as “vulnerable” on the IUCN red list.

The Newport Aquairum’s newest shark ray was recently added to the “Shark Ray Bay” last week. The mating process for the species typically involves the biting down on the female’s pectoral fin to hold her. The aquarium’s curator said the in this instance the male bit the recently added female in the abdomen. She was removed from the exhibit when aquarium staff noticed she was in distress. An ultrasound revealed internal bleeding which resulted in the shark ray’s death.

For more on the story, check out USA Today’s “Mating injury kills Kentucky aquarium’s shark ray” article.

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