White-Blotched River Stingray, Potamotrygon leopoldi
The white-blotched river stingray has a distinctive pattern consisting of white dots on a black background, helping it blend into its river habitat.
Its large pup litter size also makes this species unique. The white-blotched river stingray has an average of seven to eight pups per litter but can have as many as 12, compared to the average four-pup litter size for other stingrays varieties.
Did You Know?
It is believed that these blotches are meant to resemble the sun hitting the bottom of the rivers in which these rays live, to help them camouflage.
The white-blotched stingray eats small invertebrates and fish, as well as freshwater snails and crabs.
Most grow between 30 and 40 centimeters (11.8 to 15.7 inches) in diameter, and around 60 centimeters (2 feet) in length.
This freshwater stingray is native to the Xingu River Basin in Brazil, a tributary of the Amazon River. It was originally believed to be located solely in the Xingu River but has been subsequently spotted and documented in the Curuá and Iriri rivers. It appears to dwell most commonly in rocky river bottoms, where it finds most of its food.
Not much is known about this type of ray, including its population size.
One of the rarest types of stingrays, the white-blotched river stingray is threatened by habitat loss due to an increase in gold-mining, fisheries, logging, agriculture expansion and dam construction in its Xingu River Basin home. It is also sometimes captured for ornamental purposes.
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