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Ocellate river stingray

Potamotrygon motoro

Description: Ocellate river stingrays have an oval disc shaped body. The upper surface is grayish- brown with yellow-orange spots trimmed in black and the underside is white. The eyes are raised from the dorsal surface. The robust tail has a venomous spine at its tip that is capable of inflicting pain.

Size: These stingrays can reach a diameter of two feet (0.61 m).

Behavior: Ocellate river stingrays are potamodromous, meaning they migrate within freshwater rivers and streams for short periods of time. They bury themselves in the sandy sediment of rivers and streams.

Diet: At first, the young feed on plankton, but as they grow, they eat crustaceans, small mollusks and larvae of aquatic insects. As adults they eat mainly fish and crustaceans.

Senses: Their eyes, positioned on the dorsal surface of their head, gives them nearly a 360° field of vision. Their sense of smell is well developed and around their mouth they have electrical sensors called Ampullae of Lorenzini that sense the natural electrical charges of potential prey and predators.

Reproduction: They are ovoviviparous. Females produce eggs that develop within her, the young then hatch inside of her and are ‘born’ live. The size of the litter can vary anywhere from 3 to 21 pups.

Habitat/range: This freshwater ray prefers calm water with sandy substrates and are endemic to several South American river systems: the basins of the Paraná-Paraguay, Orinoco and Amazon Rivers.

Status: Listed as Data Deficient on IUCN.