Fishermen in Cambodia recently got a big surprise when they caught a gigantic 400-pound fish Stingray. The strong stingray was swept up from the murky depths of the Mekong River after it swallowed a fish that had already been hooked on fishermen’s line.
The monster ray, which has been identified as a giant freshwater stingray (Urogymnus polylepis), was accidentally caught by locals on May 5 in the Stung Treng province of northeast Cambodia. The fishermen immediately alerted members of the Wonders of the Mekong project team, a conservation group run by the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), in collaboration with local fisheries authorities, who helped remove the fishing line and measure the stripe before releasing it safely. back to the river.
The huge specimen weighed 397 pounds (180 kilograms) and measured 6 feet (1.9 meters) wide and 13 feet (4 m) long, including its whip-like tail, which ended in a 6-inch venomous tail ( 15 centimeters) serrated. spikes, UNR representatives said in a statement.
Giant freshwater rays are the largest species of rays in the world and “are contenders for the title of the world’s largest freshwater fish,” Zeb Hogan, a UNR fish biologist and director of the Wonders of the Mekong project.
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Little is known about these remarkably large fish because “catches are almost never reported,” Hogan said, “which also makes it difficult to determine true abundance or population trends.”
However, previous reports suggest that individuals can grow even larger than this giant. “The size of this ray was surprising,” Hogan said. “But what is most surprising is that it is dwarfed by the accounts of [individuals] twice the size reported by fishermen in the same area.
The current record holder for the largest fish in the Mekong River, which flows through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, is a 646-pound (293 kg) Mekong giant catfish (Pangasianodon gigas) that was captured in Thailand in 2005, Hogan said. Giant freshwater stingrays can probably grow larger than this, she added. In 2009, a giant freshwater stingray captured in Thailand was estimated to weigh between 550 and 770 pounds (249 and 349 kg) but never officially weighed in.
The largest freshwater fish in the world they are beluga sturgeons (spindle spindle); Found in Russia, these huge fish can reach a maximum length of over 26 feet (8 m) and weigh up to 2.2 tons (2 metric tons).
The Mekong River is also home to other large aquatic species, including Irrawaddy Dolphins, Giant Softshell Turtles, Giant Mekong Catfish, Giant Barbs (a type of carp), Giant Goonch Catfish, and Giant Catfish. (another type of catfish), according to the declaration. “This remote and relatively pristine stretch of Cambodia’s Mekong River appears to be the last place land where all these iconic giant freshwater species live together,” Hogan said.
These giant species are able to grow to extreme sizes because the Mekong River has a wide variety of different habitat types, including deep pools, braided channels, sandbanks, and islands that “provide shelter and space for the species to grow,” Hogan said. Historically, the Mekong River is one of the “world’s most productive rivers” and would have provided abundant food for larger animals, she added.
However, the health of the Mekong River has seriously deteriorated in recent decades due to water pollution, overfishing and habitat fragmentation due to river development such as dams, Hogan said. As a result, the giant freshwater stingrays are now listed as endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Endangered Species.
Originally published on Live Science.