Several weeks ago, about 19 Dwarf Whiprays were moved into the Mangrove Habitat and Sea Grass Habitat from our back-of-house breeding facilities where they were born.
The Dwarf Whipray (Brevitrygon walga), also known as the Mangrove Whipray, is a small stingray in the family Dasyatidae. They are found in the western Pacific Ocean, from Indonesia to Vietnam and the Philippines, typically at depths of less than 50m.
One of the smallest
Dwarf Whiprays are among the smallest stingrays, growing up to only 24cm wide (disc body) and 45cm long including its tail. Due to their small size and roundish body, they are sometimes mistaken for horseshoe crabs in murky waters.
Pointed snout, whip-like tail
It has a bluntly-pointed snout and a whip-like tail that is longer than its body. Its tail also lacks the skin fold found in some stingray species, such as the Black Blotched Fantail Ray.
Females have shorter tails
Compared to male Dwarf Whiprays, the females have a shorter tail with a bulbous tip. But regardless of gender, they all have four to six erectile, venomous spines at the base of their tail.
Mature at 17cm
Dwarf Whiprays reach maturity when their body is about 17cm long. They mate ‘belly-to-belly’ with their ventral surfaces in contact. Being viviparous, they give birth to live litters of 1-2 pups that develop within the mother’s body.
Threatened due to bycatch
Their native habitat in the western Pacific Ocean is intensively exploited by commercial fishing. This causes them to be a frequent victim of bycatch. So much so that they are categorised as Near Threatened under IUCN’s (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List.
Found in Singapore
Dwarf Whiprays are sometimes seen on the muddy Northern shores of Singapore. They are usually more active at night and during high tides. Small ones are sometimes seen trapped in pools in the seagrass meadows of Chek Jawa at low tide. (Information source: Wild Singapore)
Here’s a short clip of our Dwarf Whiprays at the Sea Grass Habitat:
Meet the Dwarf Whiprays at S.E.A. Aquarium. Be sure to get your camera ready especially at the Sea Grass Habitat because our rays are very generous with their ‘smiles’.