NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Baby ray fish grown in sandwich bag 'hatches' in Macduff

Hatched baby ray Image copyright Macduff Marine Aquarium
Image caption The ray, seen here at the centre of the tank, under the watchful eye of some larger companions

A young thornback ray fish saved after being allowed to grow in a sandwich bag has "hatched".

The ray was trapped in its egg case - known as a mermaid's purse - and would otherwise have died at Macduff Marine Aquarium in Aberdeenshire.

Aquarium employee Frazer Mackay peeled open the case and put the ray, still at the embryo stage, in the bag.

Two months on, it has now been released from the sandwich bag, and is said to be doing well.

Mr Mackay said: "We are all pretty chuffed - it has done amazingly well.

"It is now in the tank with the other 10 baby rays."

'True test'

He explained how a lucky discovery while clearing out the tank led to the innovative technique being used.

"All the others had hatched and I was removing the empty egg cases," he said.

"I picked up this one and I gave it a bit of a squish to get all the air out, and it didn't squish so I peeled it open and saw there was still a baby ray inside it. The purse was closed so I assumed it was empty.

"I peeled it out from the egg case and passed it into the poly pocket and it started wriggling and doing its thing - and it was actually alive which was big sigh of relief."

Image copyright Macduff Marine Aquarium
Image caption The ray was released from a sandwich bag

Mr Mackay said the next stage of the ray's development would be the "true test" of whether it can survive into adulthood.

It may be named at a later stage.

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