The very first Stingray to be successfully bred at Sea Life Manchester celebrates his first birthday today, thanks to the specialist in-depth knowledge of the Barton Square aquarium’s dedicated team of aquarists.

Aptly named ‘Blueberry Muffin’ by staff, on account of the Ray’s first ‘squished’ appearance with striking blue spots; the now one-year-old Ray is the very first Stingray of any species to be born because of the breeding programme.

It’s a significant milestone for Sea Life Manchester due to the nature of rays reproductive patterns. Rays grow slowly, mature late sexually and produce very few offspring, meaning that they cannot recover as quickly if their populations are depleted. This, combined with commercial and recreational fishing pressures, sees rays classified as a vulnerable species.

Since the birth of the baby Stingray in May 2017 to ‘Stingray Bay’ residents and proud parents, Blueberry Muffin has grown 8.2cm and is now circa 30cm, more than tripling in size thanks to a diet of krill and mackerel.

Celebrating Blueberry Muffin’s first anniversary is Alan Kwan, Head Curator at Sea Life Manchester, who commented: “We’re extremely proud of our commitment to conservation here at Sea Life Manchester, and it’s a fantastic feeling when we see a successful birth because of our breeding programmes.

“Blueberry Muffin’s first birthday has given a huge lift to conservation efforts, and is testament to our highly trained aquarists who work tirelessly to create habitats conducive to breeding – it’s these exact skills that will underpin successful breeding programmes of the future for even the rarest sea creature species to be saved from extinction.”

To mark the occasion, Blueberry Muffin will be treated to an underwater birthday party in the ‘nursery’ tank, along with a special cake made from his favourite fishy snacks.

The birthday boy and his fellow Stingrays are just a few of the 5,000 sea creatures that families can delight in at Sea Life Manchester.  On the other end of the age scale are the attraction’s newest residents, two Giant Japanese Spider Crabs, who, at the grand age of fifty-years-old, are the oldest, and largest, sea creatures on-site.

‘Lair of the Giant Crab’ is included in the normal admissions price. Pre-booking is strongly advised to avoid disappointment.

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