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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 December 2007, 13:39 GMT
Aquarium hails birth of stingrays
The baby stingrays and an aquarium staff member
It is the first time a life cycle has been completed in a UK aquarium
The offspring of captive tropical stingrays have bred for the first time in the UK, a Cornish aquarium says.

Two southern stingrays were born in a tropical ocean display at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay.

The aquarium said the pair were 15cms (5.9ins) long at birth and had been transferred to a quarantine tank to protect them from predators.

Curator Matt Slater said: "These babies have been born to parents who were themselves born in captivity."

He said: "That's the first time the entire life cycle has been completed in a UK aquarium.

"It's a fabulous situation and we're delighted it's happened here."

Southern stingrays have a gestation period of about six months and the eggs hatch within the mother's body.

In the wild they are forced to fend for themselves straight away. Their tail stings are believed to be fully functional from the moment they emerge from their mother.

The pair born in Newquay have moved on to solid food.

Mr Slater said: "We're keeping our fingers crossed for the future. The youngsters will remain in their own tank until they are large enough to return to the ocean display."

Fully grown females can reach lengths of up to 2m (6.5ft).

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