Scientists find giant thornback off Turkey’s Çeşme
İZMİR – Anadolu Agency
DHA photoScientists conducting research off the Turkish resort town of Çeşme have come across a giant thornback sting ray, reportedly the biggest of its kind ever recorded, with a wingspan of 2.2 meters.
The sting ray gave birth to eight offspring after being taken aboard, said İlker Aydın, an associate professor in the Faculty of Aquaculture at Ege University in the Aegean province of İzmir.
He said they realized the fish was giving birth when they pulled up its tail to determine its sex.
“Witnessing the animal in labor and helping it give birth was fascinating,” he said.
The largest sting ray recorded until their finding had a wingspan of 1.41 meters, some 80 centimeters shorter, according to Aydın.
The scientists said the fish weighed 450 kilograms.
Getting the fish, which was netted at a depth of around 100 meters, was a big challenge, and all the crew ran in fear when they came across it, Aydın said.
After conducting research and measurements, the offspring were released back into the water. However, the crew experienced difficulty in setting the mother free due to her weight, as ropes broke in the first attempt.
The sting ray was finally released into the sea after a one-hour effort.