Rare Ray Killed in Aquarium Mating Gone Wrong

Male shark ray bites female in the abdomen

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 24, 2013 9:21 AM CDT

(Newser) – A "freakish" mating accident cost the life of a rare shark ray, just days after a Cincinnati-area aquarium acquired her, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. The unnamed female, who arrived at the Newport Aquarium on July 17, was apparently killed when a male attempted to mate with her, a process that typically involves the male biting down on one of the female's fins. “Most of the time, the females will survive,” says the aquarium's curator. “Sharks have an amazing ability to heal.” But the male "missed," he says, and bit the female's abdomen.

When experts saw she was acting strangely, they took the 6-foot, 230 pound creature from the display. An ultrasound revealed internal bleeding, and despite treatment, the shark ray died. "Mating is kind of a violent act," says the curator. "Everybody thinks of roses and chocolate. There is nothing romantic about it." Four of the animals remain in the display.

A promotional picture from the Newport Aquarium's website featuring a shark ray.
A promotional picture from the Newport Aquarium's website featuring a shark ray.   (Newport Aquarium)
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