Fishers in Cambodia lately obtained an enormous shock after they reeled in a big 400-pound stingray. The hefty ray was dragged up from the murky depths of the Mekong River after it swallowed a fish that had already been snagged on the fishers’ line.
The monstrous ray, which has been recognized as a large freshwater stingray (Urogymnus polylepis), was unintentionally caught by locals on Might 5 within the Stung Treng province in northeastern Cambodia. The fishers instantly alerted staff members from the Wonders of the Mekong undertaking — a conservation group run by the College of Nevada, Reno (UNR), in collaboration with native fishing authorities — who helped take away the fishing line and measure the ray earlier than safely releasing it again into the river.
The huge specimen weighed a hefty 397 kilos (180 kilograms) and measured 6 ft (1.9 meters) huge and 13 ft (4 m) in size together with its whip-like tail, which terminated in a 6 inch (15 centimeter) venomous, serrated barb, UNR representatives stated in a press release.
Large freshwater stingrays are the world’s largest stingray species and “are contenders for the title of world’s largest freshwater fish,” Zeb Hogan, a UNR fish biologist and director of the Wonders of the Mekong undertaking, informed Reside Science.
Little is understood about these remarkably giant fish as a result of “catches are nearly by no means reported,” Hogan stated, “which additionally makes it troublesome to find out true abundance or inhabitants developments.”
Nonetheless, previous experiences counsel that people can develop even larger than this behemoth. “The dimensions of this stingray was shocking,” Hogan stated. “However what’s extra shocking is that it is dwarfed by accounts of [individuals] twice the dimensions reported by fishermen in the identical space.”
The present record-holder for the biggest fish within the Mekong River — which flows by means of China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam — is a 646-pound (293 kg) Mekong large catfish (Pangasianodon gigas) that was caught in Thailand in 2005, Hogan stated. Large freshwater stingrays can probably develop bigger than this, he added. In 2009, a large freshwater stingray caught in Thailand was estimated to weigh between 550 and 770 kilos (249 and 349 kg) however was by no means formally weighed.
The largest freshwater fish on this planet are beluga sturgeon (Huso huso); these huge fish, that are present in Russia, can attain a most size of greater than 26 ft (8 m) and weigh as much as 2.2 tons (2 metric tons).
The Mekong River can also be dwelling to quite a lot of different giant aquatic species, together with Irrawaddy dolphins, large softshell turtles, Mekong large catfish, large barbs (a kind of carp), large goonch catfish and large sheatfish (one other kind of catfish), in line with the assertion. “This distant and comparatively pristine stretch of the Cambodian Mekong River seems to be the final place on Earth the place all of those iconic large freshwater species stay alongside each other,” Hogan stated.
These large species are in a position to develop to excessive sizes as a result of the Mekong River has all kinds of various habitat varieties together with deep swimming pools, braided channels, sand bars and islands that “present refuge and area for the species to develop,” Hogan stated. Traditionally, the Mekong River is without doubt one of the “best rivers on this planet” and would have offered an abundance of meals for bigger animals, he added.
Nonetheless, the well being of the Mekong River has severely declined in latest many years resulting from water air pollution, overfishing and habitat fragmentation resulting from river developments, resembling dams, Hogan stated. Because of this, large freshwater rays at the moment are listed as endangered, in line with the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Pink Record of endangered species.
Initially revealed on Reside Science.