Baby flat fish who appeat to be smiling are hit with aquarrium visitors.
Six tiny thornback rays have hatched at Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre, Norfolk, in the last three days during a 'baby boom'
Cute little creatures appear to be smiling but their 'eyes' are in fact gills
By HELEN COLLIS
There must be something in the water. These little rays of sunshine appear to be smiling at just days old.
The tiny rays have arrived during a baby boom at Great Yarmouth’s Sealife Centre, Norfolk, drawing in visitors from far and wide.
At least six Thornbacked rays have hatched over the last three days alone.
And visitors eager for a gilimpse of their seemingly happy faces have been shocked to find what looks like eyes are in fact gills.
Happy tots: These tiny newborn thornback rays appear to be smiling at the visitors
The fascinating little creatures were born during a baby boom at Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre, in Norfolk
Curator Christine Pitcher said: 'We took more ray eggs out of our main display tank this morning, and at least 20 of them seem to be fertile.
'It’s the right time of year for a baby boom, but I don’t recall ever having so many youngsters appearing at once before.
The miniature rays might appear to be smiling but in fact what looks like eyes are in fact tiny gills
A closer look at the 'face' reveals that there are no eyes on the underside of the tiny fish - there are on the upper side of the flat fish
'It’s the ultimate endorsement for our husbandry techniques and the quality of water and theming in our displays,' she added. Though the fish appear to be smiling, what looks to be it’s eyes are in fact gills for breathing on it’s underside. The rays' real eyes are on the front of it’s body.
The fish will live in a nursery tank until they are big enough to join the adult rays in huge open top tank. Thornbacked rays are the most common of nine species of rays in British waters. They can grow up to 1.2metres. They get their name because their upper body is covered in tiny prickles. Christine and her team are hoping the baby boom will rub off on their largest resident Aphropdite the nurse shark who has been mating with male Hercules.
'That would certainly be the "happy event" of the year,' she said.