Now you can see more Shark Rays on display than anywhere else in the world in Newport Aquarium’s Surrounded By Sharks Exhibit! Extremely rare Shark Rays Sweet Pea, Scooter, Sunshine and Spike will win you over with their human-like eyes, and breathtaking grace.
The name Shark Ray, (Rhina ancylostoma), alludes to its appearance. The front section is broad like a ray with prehistoric ridges along the head, while the back section resembles a shark with dual dorsal fins.
Like sharks and rays, they have a skeleton made of cartilage. A Shark Ray’s mouth is equipped with very strong jaws that are covered in small rounded teeth. The strong jaw and teeth are extremely effective in crushing the hard shells of animals such as crabs and lobsters, their favorite foods.
Due to lack of knowledge and the fact that Shark Ray fins are highly desired as food in certain cultures, there is concern as to what is happening with their numbers in the wild. In 2007, Newport Aquarium began the Shark Ray Breeding Program with the introduction of a male Shark Ray into the exhibit. Although the successful breeding of the Shark Rays is the main goal of the program, much valuable information is being gathered with regards to the general biology of this species.
Meet our Shark Rays on display in our Surrounded By Sharks Exhibit:
- Sweet Pea – In 2005, Newport Aquarium made history by becoming the first aquarium in the Western Hemisphere to display our first Shark Ray, Sweet Pea.
- Scooter – Added in 2007, to create the world’s first Shark Ray Breeding Program.
- Sunshine – Arrived at Newport Aquarium in 2009, and was on display in our Coral Reef Exhibit before transferring to the Aquarium’s off-site research holding facility. She has now joined the rest of the Shark Ray group in the Surrounded By Sharks Exhibit.
- Spike – Our newest member of the Shark Ray group. He weighs just over 200 pounds and is the second male added to the group.