The Silent Assassin - aka the short-tailed freshwater stingray

DUBBED “The Silent Assassin” the short-tailed freshwater stingray is the fascinating target of Jeremy Wade in the third episode of his latest River Monsters series on ITV.

Jeremy, seen recently in Angler’s Mail magazine, and whose TV show times are listed in the latest mags, travels to the Paraná River in the remote northeast corner of Argentina.

He starts out to investigate the death of a young girl. He ends up targeting his largest totally freshwater river monster!

Jeremy said: A few times I felt something that felt like the tail hitting the line. One thing that constantly worried me was the fact that, this being a stingray with a rough tail, it might just cut through the line at any moment.’

Here, online, Angler’s Mail reveals some more about Jeremy’s latest conquest, the short-tailed freshwater stingray…

Beware the tail!

Growingup to 4.5 ft and reaching weights to over 450 lb, this circular  river stingray might look harmless, but it has a secret weapon: a venomous stinger.

Potamotrygon brachyura is its Latin name, and these members of the shark family don’t normally attack, but they will if they have to.

In order to protect themselves, when they feel threatened, they’ll lash their stingers out, leaving lacerations on their adversaries.

Fish on! Jeremy battles with his biggest river monster yet!

The majority of stingray injuries in humans happen when people accidentally step on rays while they’re walking along the ground beneath bodies of water.

Stingrays defend themselves from predators by covering their bodies in sand, making it very easy for people to step on them inadvertently.

The largest recorded short-tailed river stingray catch involved one weighing 661 lb (300 kg).

The female stingray doesn’t lay eggs. Instead, it gives birth to fully formed, young stingrays and can deliver as many as 19 pups at one time. These pups eat plankton, small organisms that drift along in the water, after they’re born, until they get a little older and start consuming small mollusks, crustaceans, the larvae of aquatic insects and fish.

In the freshwaters of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay is where you’ll find these endangered animals.

Fishermen often hunt them for food by catching the stingrays off guard while the creatures are resting in shallow waters.

The pretty colors of the young short-tailed river stingrays place them among the many aquatic animals captured and sold for aquariums.

But man isn’t the only threat to this species. Water pollution, hydroelectric plants and habitat degradation also play a role in their diminishing numbers.

  • Angler’s Mail magazine lists best fishing on TV every week- check each issue for highlights.