A fishy addition

Jones rescues a young stingray



Emma Casillas '20

 As students walk in and out of the library, one may notice a larger fish living in the tank behind Librarian Francis Feeley’s desk. The unusual fish is a freshwater stingray, originating from the Amazon in South America and was rescued by fish sanctuary owner Manuel Oñate Jr.’76. 

“All of these are rescued fish. I have a non-for-profit aquarium fish sanctuary. I set up aquariums in nursing homes, hospitals, schools, and libraries,” said Oñate.

Every fish at Jones is rescued and is located several tanks around the school. Onate’s involvement in the process of actually getting new sea creatures to Jones and taking care of all Jones fish tanks. 

“This summer I was told ‘Hey, I got this stingray. My aquarium is too small for my stingray. Can you help me find a home for him?’ and I said yeah, [Jones],” said Oñate.

However, despite being the person who placed the stingray in the tanks himself, Oñate does not know which species of stingray this is. 

“I have to identify which one this is because there are different varieties of stingrays. I have to figure out which one this is. Some don’t grow that big some do grow bigger.” Oñate said.

Many claim that the stingray is a girl, but Oñate disagrees.

“I believe it to be a boy. The way to tell a boy is that boys have what’s called claspers. They’re like two little fingers that hang out back there. Females don’t have any,” Oñate said.

The stingray currently remains nameless. Teacher leader of Aquarium Club Ray Lesniewski announced a plan to have a naming event to allow Jones students to have a say in what our new friend will be named. 

“We definitely want to have a naming contest. We actually are gonna have a naming contest for a number of the fish in a lot of the other tanks, not just the stingray. [The stingray] will be part of it because that is really popular, but we want to name some of the other big fish,” said Lesniewski.

Helping plan this event is a student leader for Aquarium Club, Katherine Dattner ‘20. She expanded on the details of this upcoming event.

“We would probably send out a Google Form. We would have everyone fill that out and then we would set a poll to pick our top 5 names and have people vote on that,” Dattner said.

In the meantime, this stingray remains gentle, despite any fears of its deadliness. 

“Well, yeah [it will hurt]. But like anything, like a bee sting if you’re allergic yeah it might kill you. But most people, no, [it won’t kill them],” said Oñate.