Orange Spot Freshwater Stingray: Potamotrygon motoro
Distribution and Habitat
Orange spot stingrays are found in South America’s Amazon River basin.
Orange spot stingrays live in freshwater rivers and slow-moving tributaries.
Orange spot stingrays have round disk spot markings on their dorsal side. They have no bones in their bodies, with the skeletal structures being composed primarily of cartilage. They have gills on top of their head, allowing them to breathe when they are buried in sand. Their slender tail has a serrated venomous spine that can be replaced up to three times a year. The venom is protein-based and causes intense pain and rapid tissue degeneration (necrosis). These stingrays can grow up to 18 inches and weigh between 8-10 pounds. With their sexual dichromatic differences, it is easy to determine sex. Males have a pair of sexual appendages called “claspers,” which appear as finger-like extensions on each pelvic fin. They are used to inseminate the female when mating. In captivity, they can live 15-20 years.
Orange spot stingrays like to partially cover themselves with mud for camouflage.
Orange spot stingrays have gills on top of their heads so that they can breathe under buried sand.
They are among the top predators in the ecosystems they populate in nature.