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Ocellate River Stingray

Identity card

Ocellate River Stingray

Scientific name:
Potamotrygon motoro
Year of description:
Müller & Henle, 1841
IUCN Status:
Data Deficient

Appendix III


Fresh and tropical waters of South America


It lives in calm waters, on sandy floors.


It measures up to 50 cm.


Small molluscs, crustaceans and aquatic insect larvae.

Conservation program:

The stingray (Potamotrygon motoro) is part of a MON-P or Monitoring programme.

Ocellate River Stingray

The keepers teach the stingrays to come and get their food when they hear an audible signal


In this way, they can observe the animal closely and ensure that it is in good health.

The ocellate river stingray is ovoviviparous. It reaches sexual maturity when it is three years old and has a diameter of approximately 30-35 cm.

Did you know?

In South America, it is feared more than piranhas, even if it only stings to defend itself. Its spines contain a powerful venom.

Where is the animal to be found?

  • The ocellate river stingray lives in the fresh waters of South America (Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay).
  • It lives in calm water, on sandy bottoms of freshwater lagoons, streams and rivers where it likes to bury itself.

How can it be recognised?

  • Ocellate river stingrays have spines that break off spontaneously and are gradually renewed.
  • This grooved, poisonous spine measures up to 50 cm.

What is distinctive about it?

Juveniles feed on small molluscs, crustaceans and aquatic insect larvae. Adults follow the same diet with a preference for various aquatic insects.

Threat and protective measure

The main threats to the species probably come from habitat degradation: the damming of the Río Paraná River for navigation and hydroelectric plants, the construction of numerous harbours along the river. 

The ocellate river stingray (Potamotrygon motoro) is part of a MON-P or Monitoring programme that is even less restrictive than the ESB. Its objective is to simply monitor their population in institutions that are partners of EAZA, the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Ocellate River Stingray

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