Man, we sure do love us some stingrays. Especially those in the Potamotrygonidae group… that’s the freshwater stingrays, if you didn’t know. Potamotrygon actually is two Greek words put together! Potamos means ‘river’ and trygon means ‘a sting ray.’ Neat!
Up next we want to talk about the white-blotched river stingray (Potamotrygon leopoldi), not to be confused with all the other river rays that are black with white spots. And trust us… there are A LOT of those. They are a dark black to brown-dusk color with large white spots scattered about. A benthopelagic critter, they are only found in the South American Xingu River basin, which feeds into the Xingu and Fresco rivers. They can get up to 111 cm wide (WD male/unsexed) and apparently can weigh up to a whopping 17 kg—sometimes maybe even more! As you can guess, the females do grow to be larger than the males.
A tropical species, they love to bury themselves in the sand during the day… but during the night, they shake off the soft substrate and hunt for any invertebrates that may be running around the river’s bottom. Also known as the “Xingu River ray,” and the “polka-dot stingray,” you may have seen them in an aquarium as they are popular in the aquaria trade! We could not find their assessment on the IUCN website.
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TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
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