THE STINGRAY SPE­CIAL

• Stingray in­dex for easy ref­er­ence • Which species are avail­able lo­cally and abroad? • • Stingray 101: The ba­sics of their keep­ing • Why the P. mo­toro is a good first choice for be­gin­ners

Animal Scene - - FRONT PAGE - Text by MANNY BAUTISTA Photos by JEFFREY C. LIM

When­ever there’s an ex­hibit or a home setup aquar­ium, fresh­wa­ter (FW) stingrays are al­ways the cen­ter of at­trac­tion, and I’m sure you’ll agree with at least one of these rea­sons. The main rea­son for their pop­u­lar­ity may be how rare it is for the ca­sual viewer to see one of them, as most of the fish or­di­nar­ily seen kept in aquar­i­ums are gold­fish, arowana, or flow­er­horns.

But to see what looks like a swimming UFO can bring about a big smile. Ac­tu­ally, fish keep­ers would have had more chances to see stingrays in the cook­ing pots of eater­ies, cooked in co­conut milk, than see­ing live ones in aquar­i­ums!

Other rea­sons for its ap­peal is the knowl­edge that it has a dan­ger­ous, ven­omous tail; it’s some­thing we Filipinos be­lieve, from the folk­tales we’ve heard, to be used by myth­i­cal crea­tures called ‘aswang’. Its un­pre­dictable be­hav­ior, like its habit of hid­ing un­der­neath the sand with just the eyes show­ing, or how groups of them tend to pile one on top of the other like pan­cakes, or swimming like a fly­ing saucer, just hov­er­ing, star­ing at you. Lastly, there are the eye-catch­ing pat­terns each species have.

No won­der many Filipino hob­by­ists have suc­cumbed to the al­lure of keep­ing FW stingrays, and they’re sud­denly selling like hot pan­desal ev­ery­where.

With web­sites and the surge in so­cial media, it of­ten only takes a click to ac­quire a pet these days. FW stingrays are among those that have be­come pop­u­lar due to this, and hob­by­ists ac­quire them de­spite hav­ing lit­tle knowl­edge about how to keep them prop­erly. It is our hope that this se­ries of ar­ti­cles will help give all stingray hob­by­ists a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of what this re­mark­able fish needs, where it started, how it re­pro­duces…and even what to do in case you get stung!

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