White-blotched River Stingray

Potamotrygon leopoldi


It is believed that these blotches are meant to resemble the sun hitting the bottom of the rivers in which these rays live, to help them camouflage.

Exhibit Name and Location:
Amazon River Forest

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White-Blotched Stingray

The White-Blotched River Stingray is one of the most unique and interesting rays. Its distinctive pattern consists of white dots on a black background, helping the ray blend into its river habitat. It has a light gray underbelly.

This freshwater stingray is native to the Xingu River Basin in Brazil, a tributary of the Amazon River. It was originally believed to be located solely the Xingu River, but has been subsequently spotted and documented in the Curuá and Iriri Rivers. It appears to dwell most commonly in rocky river bottoms, where it finds most of its food – including snails and crabs.

Another feature of the White-Blotched River Stingray that makes it special is its large pup litter size. This type of stingray has an average of 7 to 8 pups per litter but can have as many as 12, compared to the average 4-pup litter size for other stingrays varieties.

One of the most rare types of stingrays, it remains a mysterious species. Studies are currently under way to learn more about the White-Blotched River Stingray and evaluate its conservation status.


The white-blotched stingray eats small invertebrates and fish, as well as freshwater snails and crabs.


Most grow between 30 – 40 centimeters (11.8 to 15.7 inches) in diameter, and around 60 centimeters (2 feet) in length.


This species is found in the Brazilian Xingu River Basin in South America.

Population Status

Not much is known about this type of ray, including its population size.


The White-Blotched River Stingray is threated by habitat loss, due to increasing gold mining, fisheries, logging, agriculture expansion, and increased dam construction in its Xingu River Basin home. It is also sometimes captured for ornamental purposes.

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Holly Bourbon
Curator of Large-Fish Exhibits/Diving Safety Officer

pressroom striped fish

As the curator of large-fish exhibits, Holly's day-to-day responsibilities include managing our staff of aquarists and making sure that all of the animals under our care are doing well! Learn More

A Note From the Caretaker

These rays learn fast. Our river stingrays are trained to either come to a target or a station to eat. They swim up to their specific area, and eat food out of the keeper’s hand! This allows us to closely monitor how much they are eating and make sure they take their multivitamin.


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