Ratfish rearing

juvenile spotted ratfish

The Seattle Aquarium hatched a captive-bred ratfish in 2013, resulting in a longevity record for the captive propagation of this species. Spotted ratfish, Hydrolagus colliei, are cartilaginous fishes (meaning their skeletons are composed of cartilage) related to sharks, rays, and skates. Little is known about the early years of this species because, in the wild, they hatch 200–300 feet below the surface.

Noted Director of Life Sciences C.J. Casson, “This was a significant milestone in the captive rearing community. Many skates and rays are reared in captivity and serve as educational ambassadors at institutions across the country with little to no impact on the environment. Continuing these efforts will help the Aquarium move closer to being able to display our local ratfish in a similar way.” He added, “We were excited to learn more about this animal’s developmental stages so we can accurately interpret its natural history to our guests and add to the scientific understanding of this species.”

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