Fish

Short-Tailed River Stingray

posted: 03/18/14
short-tailed-river-stingray0
Read more Read less
Short-Tailed River Stingray
Daniel Huertas/Icon Films
See MoreShort-Tailed River Stingray Pictures, Discovering a Legend (video) , The Silent Assassin (video) , Battle With a River Stingray (video) , "Wish You Were Dead" Fish (video) "

Maximum Diameter:

Up to 4.9 feet

Maximum Weight:

Over 450 pounds

Cuts Like a Knife:

Circular in shape, the short-tailed river stingray might look harmless, but it has a secret weapon: a venomous stinger. These members of the shark family don't normally attack, but they will if they have to. In order to protect themselves, when they feel threatened, they'll lash their stingers out, leaving lacerations on their adversaries. The majority of stingray injuries in humans happen when people accidentally step on rays while they're walking along the ground beneath bodies of water. Stingrays defend themselves from predators by covering their bodies in sand, making it very easy for people to step on them inadvertently.

Lots of Little Ones:

These stingrays are the largest of the Potamotrygon species, reaching 4.9 feet (1.5 meters) in diameter and weighing 459 pounds (208 kilograms). The largest recorded short-tailed river stingray catch involved one weighing 661 pounds (300 kilograms). The female stingray doesn't lay eggs. Instead, it gives birth to fully formed, young stingrays and can deliver as many as 19 pups at one time. These pups eat plankton, small organisms that drift along in the water, after they're born, until they get a little older and start consuming small mollusks, crustaceans, the larvae of aquatic insects and fish.

On the Hunt:

In the freshwaters of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay is where you'll find these endangered animals. Fishermen often hunt them for food by catching the stingrays off guard while the creatures are resting in shallow waters. The pretty colors of the young short-tailed river stingrays place them among the many aquatic animals captured and sold for aquariums. But man isn't the only threat to this species. Water pollution, hydroelectric plants and habitat degradation also play a role in their diminishing numbers.

Jeremy Wade's Tips for Catching a Short-Tailed River Stingray:

"A few times I felt something that felt like the tail hitting the line. One thing that constantly worried me was the fact that, this being a stingray with a rough tail, it might just cut through the line at any moment."

For the full story, watch Jeremy Wade's How to Catch a Short-Tailed River Stingray.

More on
River Monsters