Can You Feel the
  Love Tonight?

     Southern Stingrays mate duringMale Southern Stingray Photo by Jeff Kraus late winter and spring. Males are able to use their electrosense and sense of smell to locate females that are ready to mate. To let males know they are ready to mate, females give off a special scent. A male will then follow the female closely and bite her disc to enable him to insert his clasper. Males use their claspers, modified pelvic fins, to transfer their sperm into a female’s oviduct. Glans house tiny structures at the end of a male’s clasper that are responsible for keeping contact inside the female’s cloaca during copulation.

     In Southern Stingrays, the fertilized embryo will remain inside the female from when it is just an egg until it is fully developed. This form of live bearing is called ovoviviparity. The egg hatches inside the female, and the young are born alive with no attachment to the placenta. The embryo must rely on nourishment from the yolk sac inside the egg and from the uterine wall of the mother. These females have anywhere from 2 to 10 pups per litter. These pups are large enough at birth to find food for themselves and defend themselves from predators.

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