Rare Blackchin Guitarfish on song after six born at National Sea Life centre

By Andrew Turton | Birmingham | Entertainment | Published:

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 UK's first Blackchin Guitarfish which has been born at the National Sea Life Centre

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."

Measuring up - staff are delighted with the six new Guitarfish

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 Guitarfish are endangered in the wild


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.

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Andrew Turton

By Andrew Turton
Digital Journalist

Digital journalist based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton. Interested in breaking news and social media. Get in touch on Twitter @aturton_star or


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