We often tend to think of stingrays as small and graceful, albeit dangerous, oceanic gliders. We marvel at them on nature shows and avoid them at the beach, but did you know they also inhabited freshwater?
Did you know they can grow to weigh over 660 pounds?
A 661-pound freshwater stingray was caught in the Mekong River in Cambodia, making it the largest freshwater fish ever found.
The previous record-holder was a 649-pound catfish caught in Thailand but also in the Mekong, which flows through Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, China, Myanmar, and Vietnam. The river is famous for its rich biodiversity, but overfishing and damming threaten its vibrant ecosystems. This record-breaking stingray is a huge example of what treasures this river has to offer.
“In 20 years of researching giant fish in rivers and lakes on six continents, this is the largest freshwater fish that we’ve encountered or that’s been documented anywhere worldwide,” said Zeb Hogan, a biologist who leads Wonders of the Mekong, a USAID-funded conservation project. “Finding and documenting this fish is remarkable, and a rare positive sign of hope, even more so because it occurred in the Mekong, a river that’s currently facing many challenges.”
On June 13, a fisherman on Koh Preah island called the Cambodia Fisheries Administration to tell researchers that he caught a “very big stingray,” which was 3.98 meters long and 2.2 meters wide.
In the Khmer language of Cambodia, the stingray is called “Boramy” which means full moon, as the huge fish was caught at night when the moon was high in the sky.
As these giant freshwater stingrays are endangered, “Boramy” was released back into its natural, diverse ecosystem.
“The stingray find is evidence that the natural world can still yield new and extraordinary discoveries, and that many of the largest aquatic creatures remain woefully understudied,” Dr. Hogan said.