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White-Blotched River Stingray

(Potamotrygon leopoldi)

Overview

The white-blotched river stingray has a distinctive pattern of white dots on a black background, helping it blend into its riverbed habitat.

Its large pup litter size also makes this species unique. The average white-blotched river stingray litter consists of seven or eight pups, but as many as 12 pups have been born in a single litter. Other stingray species birth an average of only four pups per litter.

A Note from the Caretaker

White-blotched river stingrays learn fast! The Aquarium's rays are trained to report to either a target or station where they swim up to their designated area and eat food directly from a keeper's hand! This training allows us to closely monitor how much each ray is eating and make sure they take their multivitamin.

Quick Facts

Did you know, it is believed that the blotched markings for which these rays are named are meant to resemble the sun hitting the bottom of the rivers in which they live, helping them camouflage?

This freshwater stingray is native to the Xingu River Basin in Brazil, a tributary of the Amazon River. The white-blotched river stingray was originally believed to occur 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.

The white-blotched river stingray eats small invertebrates and fishes, as well as freshwater snails and crabs.

Most white-blotched river stingrays grow to be between 30 and 40 centimeters (11.8 to 15.7 inches) in diameter, and around 60 centimeters (2 feet) in length.

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 increased human activity, including goldmining, 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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