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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Monstrous Stingrays Found Near Thai City

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Giant Stingrays Found Near Thai City


April 29, 2008—Recreational fishers and biologist Zeb Hogan (wearing cap) hold a live, 14-foot-long (4.3-meter-long) giant freshwater stingray the fishers caught in the Bang Pakong River in Chachoengsao, Thailand, on March 31, 2008.

After weeks of combing remote Southeast Asian rivers for giant freshwater stingrays—possibly the largest freshwater fish in the world—Hogan finally found the creature near a Thai city. To his surprise, she gave birth soon after capture. (Read full story.)

There are accounts of freshwater stingrays growing as large as 1,000 pounds (450 kilograms), which could make them the largest freshwater fish in the world, Hogan said.

Hogan runs the National Geographic Society's Megafishes Project, an effort to document 20 or so freshwater giants. (National Geographic News is part of the National Geographic Society.)

The giant river rays are extremely difficult to catch, as they bury themselves in mud when hooked. They routinely break fishers' lines and bend finger-size hooks straight to escape capture.

The ray's deadly barb, located at the base of its whiplike tail—and wrapped in a cloth in this picture—can easily puncture skin and bone.
 
 
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