Blue Reef Aquarium’s newest addition is being handled with extreme care as it is increasingly under threat in the wild.
The baby thornback skate, which only measures a few centimetres in length, has been placed in is own nursery display at the Southsea aquarium, as keepers hope it will lay more eggs.
‘Despite being one of the most widespread of our native ray and skate species, thornbacks are increasingly under threat in the wild,’ said Blue Reef’s Hannah Butt.
‘Once fully mature we’re hoping this skate and its unhatched cousins will also breed, providing a new generation of captive-bred skate here at the aquarium.’
Despite being the UK’s most common type of skate, it is still considered to be ‘near threatened’.
The thornbacks lay up to 150 egg cases each year.
Staff at the aquarium hope by having this thornback in captivity they will be able to monitor the young’s growth, before releasing them into the sea.