An inspector of the Nature and Parks Authority managed to capture an up-close and rare video of stingrays mating in the waters of Israel's southernmost city of Eilat.
Omri Omsi filmed the footage while diving in Eilat Bay's Coral Nature Reserve, ahead of Sharks Awareness Day on Tuesday.
Adi Barash, Haifa University Ph.D. student and CEO of Sharks in Israel Foundation, said the specific type of stingray captured in the video is mostly prevalent in tropical oceans."
"An adult's wingspan can reach up to two meters, and sometimes can surpass three. They sometimes mate in the Gulf of Eilat and we get to see some of the younger ones along the northern coast," she said.
Barash added that in cartilaginous fish, fertilization is internal. "The male grabs the female with his mouth and uses an organ called a clasper, in a brisk process that lasts no longer than a minute.
"The period of pregnancy is not accurate, but lasts for about two months, after which the maximum of four offspring 20-30 centimeters wide could be born," she added.
"We have very little footage of cartilaginous fish mating," said Omri. "This sort of observation is rare and could give us a lot of information on mating locations, process and even length of a pregnancy."
Omri said even after years of diving the Gulf of Eilat never cease to surprise him.
"I chose not to dive too deep in order not disturb them ... and then suddenly a pair [of stingrays] appeared and started swimming around me," he said. "I hope this observation will contribute and assist with research to help understand the natural processes of this special and rare animal."