At Farglory Ocean Park.
|Range||Indian and Pacific Ocean.|
The leopard whipray (Himantura leoparda) is a little-known species of stingray in the family Dasyatis, found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans from South Africa to Australia.
It is a large, disc-shaped stingray with a broad snout and diamond-shaped pectoral fins. It's body is a sandy color spotted in circular black to brown rings, hence their name. Their tail is long and slender, that narrows to a sharp barb. The juveniles have a gray to brown coloration with larger black spots.
It has a tendency to rest in shallow bays partially covered by sand. These rays swim by moving the edges of their pectoral wings to create S-shaped waves that move vertically from head to tail creating a flying motion. The tail is thought to be used for balance and steering and to support the sting. Bottom dwellers, they use their wings to uncover buried prey and to cover themselves with silt. When buried, they avoid inhaling mud or sand by breathing through spiracles on the top of the head instead of their buried gills
Sexes are separate and fertilization is internal. Reproduction in whiprays is called ovoviviparity or aplacental viviparity with histotrophy. In its early developmental stage, the embryo receives its nutrition from the egg yolk. Then it breaks and sheds the thin membrane of the egg capsule and receives its nourishment from a fluid called histotroph or ‘uterine milk’ which is secreted from villi, appendages in the wall of the female’s uterus. These uterine extensions also provide the embryo with oxygen and remove its waste.
Their diet consists of shrimp, shelled invertebrates, and crabs.
They can live up to 15 - 25 years.
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