Knowing Little Ray to be brave and young,
Mama Ray managed to hold her tongue.
After all, her boy would never ever know
What he could do without giving things a go.
(“The Amazing Flight of Little Ray”)
This month, to celebrate mothers, Mama Ray tells about stingrays being born, how long stingray babies stay with their mother stingrays and how they survive to adulthood after baby stingray birth.
Mother stingrays move to a safe area for baby stingray birth. In “The Amazing Flight of Little Ray”, Mama Ray represents love, care and protection. Having babies safe at birth gives them a good start.
Stingrays are born live. For baby stingray birth, the spines are flexible and covered in a sheath. This protects the mother. It goes away within hours of the stingrays being born. Mother stingrays give birth yearly.
The first stingray birth typically has one “pup”. There can be up to twelve babies in a “litter”. Deep water ocean stingrays and mantas leave at birth. Father rays leave after mating.
Female stingrays may protect their stingray babies while they practice hunting for food. From birth and until they are about three years old, a mother stingray may keep watch over her young.
Fish attacks may come without any warning sound. Like mama dogs, a mother ray may charge. They have natural weapons to defend their pups. Stingrays have venomous stinging barbs. Mama dogs have fangs.
Some sharks hatch from eggs. More babies are born from egg-laying sharks. Baby sharks are on their own. A shark is born to take care of itself. It may be a good thing for shark babies to hatch away from their mothers.
Being in the wrong place might end poorly. The mother might eat her pup. Sharks can have from one to one hundred babies. Fewer babies fit in the bodies of female sharks for live delivery.
Large shark embryos may eat smaller embryos or eggs. From several eggs, one or two pups may be born. The Reefquest Centre for Shark Research reports evidence of intrauterine cannibalism.
Female stingrays and sharks have one opening to make babies, to poop and to pee. It is called the “cloaca”. Male stingrays and sharks have two organs to make babies. They are called “claspers”.
Mating is unpleasant for the female. Males bite the females and flip them over. The claspers have painful spurs to keep them inside the females. Just one clasper is used for each mating. It puts sperm into the cloaca.
Fish do not have facial expressions. Their actions give clear signs of upset or happiness. Children see hints of the motherly care and worry in Mama Ray. She worries about Little Ray's youthful risk-taking.
Giant manta rays use size for defense. Mantas have no stingers. They prefer to escape. They may use head butts or body slams, like cows. According to Pizard's GURPS Miscellanea, there are Cow Sharks.
There are no kittens of the sea. According to Ground Sharks in GURPS, there is a shark called catshark. Babies are “pups”. Baby catfish are “fry”. Marine catfish fathers carry the eggs in their mouths until hatching.
Baby seahorses are “fry”. Father seahorses carry the eggs in a pouch. Mother kangaroos and opossums have pouches. After the eggs hatch, the father is ready for more eggs. One type of seahorse may mate for life.
The best-known cubs among ocean life are polar bear babies. Their only predators are armed humans. Few creatures approach mama polar bears or their cubs. Some sharks live in frigid polar bear country.
Some ocean parents make huge sacrifices for their babies. Male octopuses die after fertilizing eggs. Females live long enough to give birth. Their babies do not meet their parents. They must fend for themselves.
Fathers play important roles in life. Few babies born in the ocean are as lucky as baby seahorses or marine catfish. Children on land usually get help from their parents. They are not fully developed miniature adults.