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Stingray pup being held by aquarist

Aquarist Nicole holds one of the pups.

In a Brevard Zoo first, southern stingray Belle gave birth to two pups on Tuesday! No, “gave birth” is not a typo—all stingrays are born live, although they don’t receive maternal care like mammals.

The little ones, named Dallas and Clementine, weighed just under a pound at birth. You can see them in our 20,000-gallon Indian River Lagoon-themed tank in Paws On, where they’re being kept in a smaller enclosure as protection from larger fish.

Southern stingrays are native to shallow waters in the western Atlantic Ocean. Little is known about this species’ conservation status, but stingrays as a whole are threatened by overfishing, coastal development and climate change.

Oysters, mangroves and aquatic grass form the basis of the living shoreline, which stingrays and other animals need to survive. You can help us make things better for these creatures in the Indian River Lagoon by volunteering for a Restore Our Shores project.