Mystery Shark Egg Part II — It's a girl!

This is Part II of a series of posts about eggs laid in The Trust Family Foundation Shark and Ray Touch tank. See pictures and learn more about shark egg cases in this previous post.

Visitors to our shark and ray touch tank may not know that we find shark egg cases like this every single day. We collected one of those eggs a while back, and it hatched right on time! This species takes about five months. Out came a beautiful, healthy female epaulette shark, small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, literally!

She is as delicate as she looks. A really neat thing about many baby animals is that they are born with stripes that eventually fade or disappear.

The stripes make it harder for predators to understand that the baby is actually one cohesive (and potentially tasty) animal and not just a series of disconnected colors, which also offers a very interesting glimpse into the ways that animals' minds work. Baby alligators make use of this technique, too.

Baby alligators. Photo by Ianare via Wikimedia Commons.

Older epaulette sharks (and alligators) have only faint traces of these stripes, since they have significantly fewer predators as fully grown adults.

Top to bottom, Adult alligators and adult epaulette shark. 
Alligator photo by Mfield via Wikimedia Commons

For now, though, the timid newborn shark at the Aquarium feels most comfortable hiding inside of a piece of tubing in her nursery space.

She won't be big enough to go on exhibit for a good while, but feel free to come by and visit her parents at the Shark and Ray Touch Tank anytime. And keep an eye out for other eggs around the exhibit, we find them every single day!

1 comment:

  1. Mary -Some sharks lay eggs and others have live births. Still others have eggs that eventually hatch internally.