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article imageRare Giant Manta Born at Japan Aquarium

By Chris V. Thangham     Jun 17, 2007 in Environment
A giant manta ray is born in Japan's Okinawa Churami Aquarium after its mother was pregnant for 374 days. This is the first manta ray born in captivity in the world. It has began to swim and has grown to six feet already.
What is believed to be the first giant manta ray born in captivity has arrived at a southern Japanese aquarium, the facility said Sunday.
The baby manta, a female, was born late Saturday in a huge fish tank at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, more than a year after its parents mated. The Okinawa Charumi Aquarium captured the birth in a video, rolled up like a tube, came sliding out of the mother manta ray, then quickly spread its fins and began swimming around like a regular fish.
The scene, recorded by the aquarium, was broadcast by national broadcaster NHK on Sunday.
A baby giant manta ray swims inside a huge fish tank at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Motobucho
Ref: Image from Associated Press (AP)
This is the first time a manta ray gave birth in captivity. The aquarium began to raise manta rays in 1988. The manta rays grow big; it is not easy for any aquarium to have them amidst other fishes. The new born manta ray was more than six feet wide.
The mother manta, which was brought to the aquarium in 1998 after hitting a fishnet off the southern island of Okinawa, about 1,000 miles southwest of Tokyo, mated with its partner on June 8, 2006, and was pregnant with the baby for 374 days, according to the statement.
Aquarium official Minoru Toda said knowledge of manta rays are very limited, so they think the record of pregnancy and the birth will help provide valuable scientific data about the species.
Toda said, they were able to record the length of pregnancy for the first time and now they plan to more about the baby and how they grow.
Hope the new baby stays healthy so that they can let it go later.
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