These baby stingrays are so tiny and cute you might not realize they're related to sharks. Both sharks and rays belong to a group of fish called elasmobrachs that have skeletons made of cartilage. In fact, some refer to stingrays as "flattened sharks."
Stingrays breed during the winter. When a male wants to mate with a female, he follows her closely, bites at her pectoral disc, then puts one of his claspers into her valve. (That doesn't sound very appealing.)
The female usually has a litter of roughly between five and 15 babies.
Like humans, the baby stingrays develop inside their mother for around nine months. They feed off the remaining yolk in their egg sacks and later on milk in the uterus.
Baby stingrays are born fully developed and able to take care of themselves from the moment they're born. They live in the wild for about 15 to 25 years.
Some rays are under threat due to climate change. These adorable stingray babies are just one more reason to fight for a healthier planet.
This video, an oldie but a goodie shot at Oregon's Hatfield Marine Science Center, showcases them in all their strange-but-beautiful glory.