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Love hurts for not-so-shy reef sharks

 Active ImageVISITORS to the appropriately name Blue Reef Aquarium got an eyeful when they saw a pair of saucy sharks in a romantic romp.

They were snapped in the unlikely setting of a tank at the attraction in Tynemouth, North Tyneside, and experts said the picture is a rarity.

For the fearsome fish are usually shy when it comes to mating and have seldom been photographed.

These blacktip reef sharks certainly weren’t shy to show their passion in Blue Reef’s giant ocean display in front of a very surprised audience.

Spokeswoman Anna Etchells said: “I got a call to say that I should get down to the ocean display as fast as I could and to bring my camera.

“When I arrived I found a crowd of people and our male and female blacktips literally embracing each other.

“The male had hold of the female’s pectoral fin with his teeth and they were just lying there at the bottom of the display. I managed to get a couple of photos and they clearly show the male on the left holding on to the female’s fin.

“We’ve done some investigating and phoned round other aquariums and no one has ever seen this happen, it’s so exciting.”

Blacktip reef sharks are unusual in the fish world in that they give birth to live young.

It usually takes at least eight months for the young to develop inside the mother before they are born, but the gestation period can last as long as 16 months, and most females give birth to between two to four pups.

At birth the pups are usually between 30cms and 50cms in length and fully capable of fending for themselves from the moment they enter the world.

Blue Reef displays manager Chris Horn said: “It’s obviously still very early days but we’re all keeping our fingers crossed. It is so unusual to actually witness mating behaviour that we’re all still feeling a little dazed.

“To our knowledge, this is the first time our blacktips have mated and this type of behaviour usually takes place after dark, so we’re doubly lucky to have seen it.”

 

 

 

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Sharklife Ocean Center

Sodwana Bay, KwaZulu Natal
South Africa 3974

Email: info@sharklife.co.za
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www.sharklife.co.za