Water quality and captivity both affect the birth rate of the stingray Rhinoptera bonasus

Title

Water quality and captivity both affect the birth rate of the stingray Rhinoptera bonasus

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Description

Little research has been done on stingrays in captivity and in the wild, which is an important topic that I felt needed further investigation. Stingrays are marine and freshwater Chondrichthyan fishes that are commonly displayed in aquariums and zoos worldwide. While there is significant scientific knowledge of rays there is much remaining to know about these fascinating organisms. My internship at the St. Louis Zoo, allowed me to dive into the world of stingrays. Zoo’s all over the world create their exhibits to mimic what habitats would be like for the animals in the wild. At the St. Louis Zoo, Caribbean Cove is home to Cownose and Southern stingrays. These gentle creatures have a flat body, long pointed, fins, and a long whip-like tail. The Cownose and Southern stingrays breed during summer to early fall in shallow waters out in nature. In captivity, these rays breed throughout the year. The goal of this project was to understand how captivity may influence stingray births by observing water quality and environmental control. This study evaluated the differences in the St Louis Zoo’s pool temperature in relation to the number of births of Cownose stingrays. By evaluating the time of year that the ray pups were born in comparison to water temperature, I found that in captivity more stingrays were born in the month of May. I then compared this to other published research to see if there was a correlation between the breeding period in captivity versus the wild. More importantly, I will include all the contributing factors that may influence the Cownose and Southern stingrays breeding patterns.

Publication Date

4-24-2019

Project Designation

Independent Research

Primary Advisor

Patrick K Williams

Primary Advisor's Department

Biology

Keywords

Stander Symposium poster

Comments

Presenter: Rachel Elizabeth Brewer

Water quality and captivity both affect the birth rate of the stingray Rhinoptera bonasus

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