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43. Giant Freshwater Whipray

Urogymnus polylepis

About

The giant freshwater whipray is, as the name suggests, a freshwater ray from Southeast Asia that inhabits large rivers and can be seen in the water margins feeding.

The giant freshwater whipray possess a very low fecundity, giving birth to only one pup of approximately 30 cm disc width (distance between the most distal points of the pectoral fins). It is viviparous, however little else is known about this species biology.

Major threats to this species are fisheries and habitat degradation. Although the meat is not considered good quality, it is sold and consumed. This species is usually caught as bycatch, but targeted fishing is increasing due to an increased demand in the aquarium trade. According to the IUCN Red List of threatened species, sportfishing is also becoming a threat. Further research in other less well studied parts of its range are required to assess population trends and threats.

  • Order: Myliobatiformes
  • Family: Dasyatidae
  • Population: Unknown
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: Up to 200cm (?)

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 5.62 (?)
ED Score: 33.38 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct

Distribution

This giant whipray is found in Cambodia, India, Kalimantan in Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Saba and Sarawak in Malaysia, Thailand and Viet Nam.

Habitat and Ecology

This is a freshwater species found in large rivers but also this whipray can move to brackish waters in estuaries. Although not conclusive the sighting of females in estuaries suggests that these habitats might be used for parturition.

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