Rare Blackchin Guitarfish on song after six born at National Sea Life centre
It's music to their ears! Six rare Blackchin Guitarfish have been born at the National Sea Life Centre to the delight of staff.
The critically endangered species is in decline in the wild and the Birmingham aquarium is part of a worldwide breeding programme.
Sea Life staff spotted the babies, which their distinctive black chins, swimming around on Sunday with a further three discovered just the day after.
Curator Jonny Rudd said the team were thrilled with the births as chances of success are rare.
"This is fantastic news for the species after another great breeding year," he said.
"The babies and parents appear to be very healthy and active."
Staff say the species are notoriously slow breeders meaning they struggle to produce offspring.
The babies are currently just 24cm long and weighing only 1lb.
Mr Rudd said: "All six babies are living in a specially created nursery under the watchful eye of our animal care team.
"They are highly independent creatures from birth, and we’ll be examining their progress and development carefully.
"Over the coming weeks we will transfer them to our behind-the-scenes area where guests can see first-hand how they are growing. Mum and dad will remain in Shark Lagoon."
The population of Blackchin Guitarfish is in severe decline and the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species has now upgraded this species to critically endangered.
Threats to this species continue to grow in the wild with over-fishing and pollution at the core, with staff saying this breeding success is a crucial milestone.
The species struggle to increase numbers due to their slow growth and low breeding rate.
During the 18th century, Blackchin Guitarfish were amongst the most popular species in Southern European fish markets.
For further information or to book tickets visit www.sealife.co.uk/birmingham.