NEWPORT, Ky. (AP) — The Newport Aquarium will open its new display of shark rays to the public this weekend.
The Kentucky Enquirer (http://cin.ci/ZK9bTn) reports the display of four is among the largest exhibits of the creatures, which are native to oceans in the Eastern Hemisphere.
Chris Pierson, who is director of husbandry at the aquarium, says the facility is heading up research on the rare animals to examine how they grow and behave, and maybe to get them to breed.
"We don't know if they will breed," Pierson said. "It's a hunch. We've seen some flirtatious behavior."
He said the animals are expected to stay at the aquarium permanently.
"They're not endangered," Pierson said of shark rays, but "very little is known of them."
The aquarium acquired its first shark ray in 2005, added two more over the next four years and just added a fourth.
Curator of fish and invertebrates Mark Dvornak said he first saw the shark ray at the Kuwaiti Marine Science Museum.
"It was just such a unique animal that had never been displayed here in America," said Dvornak, who made it his mission to bring one to the U.S.
The exhibit opens Saturday at the aquarium's renovated Shark Ray Bay.
Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, http://www.nky.com