A quintet of baby stingrays are settling in to their new home at Hastings Blue Reef Aquarium.
The southern stingrays were born at the end of September last year and are part of a highly successful captive breeding programme at the attraction’s sister aquarium in Newquay.
As part of their ‘UK tour’ the rays were transported in special containers to Hastings – complete with their own filtration and heating systems – before making their debut in the aquarium’s giant ocean display.
Now keepers at the Rock-a-Nore Road aquarium have decided to name the quintet after the members of One Direction; Harry, Louis, Zayn, Niall and Liam
Blue Reef’s Leanna Lawson said: “We were trying to come up with names for the new arrivals and one of the team suggested that as there was five of them we could name them after the guys from One Direction.
“I have to say the stingrays aren’t anywhere near as easy to identify as the boys but the aquarists have assured me they can tell them all apart as each of them does have their own individual markings,” she added.
Southern stingrays have a gestation period of about six months. The eggs hatch within the mother’s body and the pups are born live folded up like a newspaper.
In the wild they must immediately fend for themselves and it is believed their tail stings are fully functional from the moment they emerge from their mothers.
Related to sharks, stingrays get their name from the razor-sharp barb on their tails which the animal uses to defend itself when threatened.
Fully grown females can reach lengths of up to two metres and the heaviest recorded specimen weighed more than 135 kgs.