Introduction to Stingrays

Potamotrygon is a genus of freshwater stingray native to the rivers of South America.

There are currently 24 recognized species in this genus: Potamotrygon. However, identification can be tricky due to the fact that most rays are highly polymorphic. This means that variations is patterns, physical structure and tail length are highly common.  In addition to the recognised species in this genus there is a recognised P-Number & SP-Species Variant listing.

For those who are interested in knowing the P-Number & SP-Species Variant (without P-Number) of freshwater stingrays the full list can be viewed here

Freshwater Stingrays breed a variety of different rays.  Here are some of the most common we supply for hobbyists.

  • Potamotrygon Leopoldi
  • Potamotrygon Henlei
  • Potamotrygon Motoro
  • Potamotrygon Schroederi
  • Potamotrygon Scobina
  • Potamotrygon Hystrix
  • Potamotrygon Pearl
  • Potamotrygon sp. Itaituba
  • Potamotrygon sp. Mantilla
  • Potamotrygon Motoro “Marbled variant”

Potamotrygon Leopoldi

  • Common Name:  Polka-Dot, eclipse stingray, Black Diamond, P13
  • Location:  Rio Xingu, Brazil

Description: The body of the ray should be a deep black colour with white spots patterned around its body. The white spots vary in patterns from round or lunar in shape.  Several rows of spines along its tail.  Shorter fin shaped in a paddle. Adults can grow to 24 inch

The Leopoldi stingray is probably the most spectacular and desired rays among hobbyists around the world. However, the capture and sale of wild caught rays are highly policed and the numbers few which leads to a high price for this stunning animals.

Due to the popularity of these freshwater stingrays they are subdivided into species variants.  Fish keepers have developed a generally accepted way to determine the quality of the Leopoldi with the Black Diamond variant category.


Potamotrygon Leopoldi Black Diamond

The main differences between a Black Diamond and Leopoldi are:

  • Darker body colour (Black)
    Large spots should be whiter
  • White spots on the paddle fin (males have spots on the claspers)
  • White spots around and in the eyes
  • Belly spots
  • Double row of small white spots around the disk edge

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Black Diamonds can then be sub-divided into 3 categories

  1. Thousand Island:  Has many small white spots covering its body with some larger spots on the middle of the disk
  2. Eclipse: Has bight white ring shaped pattern surrounding the disk often filled with black spots. These unquiet patterns often form line and letter shapes.
  3. Big Spot: Clearly given its name based on large circular white spots surrounding the disk of the ray. The pattern is often symmetrical although each fishes pattern is unique.

Potamotrygon Henlei

  • Common Name:  Black ray, P12
  • Location: Brazil, Rio Tocatins Henlei

Description: Predominantly dark body colour (off black) with large white spots covering the rays body.

Adults can grow up to 30 inch



Potamotrygon Motoro

  • Common Name: Motoro, P01
  • Location: Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina.

Motoro species

Description: A sandy coloured base disk with darker circular spots around the body and smaller spots around the disk. Often with a lighter brown or range colour inside the darker spots.

This is a favourite stingray among hobbyists. Adult rays can grow to 30 inch. The Motoro ray has also variants and sub species; for example, Marbled stingray


Potamotrygon Schroederi

  • Common name: Flower Ray, P04Flower Ray
  • Location: Brazil and Venezuela

Description:  It’s been collected from the Rio Orinoco (Rio Apure) and Amazon (Rio Negro) basins.

Dark based disk with lighter based flower shaped patterns.  Adults can grow to 24 inch


Potamotrygon Scobina

  • Common name:  Mosaic Stingray, P07Scobina
  • Location: Brazil

Description: Found within the middle and lower parts of the Amazon drainage in Brazil, including the Rio Trombetas, Rio Tocantins and Rio Pará. 

A light based disk with darker mosaic like patterns.  Adults can grow to 18 inch across the disk however most captive rays only reach 14 inch


Potamotrygon Hystrix

  • Common Name: mottled stingray, P06Histrix 2
  • Location: Brazil, Argentina

Description:  The body is typically dark with irregular shaped lighter coloured patterns twisted over its body.

Around the edge of the rays disk a trail of light brown spots can be seen.  This species typically remains smaller than many of its other ray families.  Adults can grow up to 14 inch


Potamotrygon sp. Pearl

  • Common name: Pearl
  • Location: Rio Xingu, BrazilPeale Dark

Description:  A remarkably pretty ray which a web effect pattern.

The discs are predominantly tanned in colour but this can vary in shades of brown and even to white discs.

Large darker ringed spots cover the body often with a lighter nucleus.

This species has a long tail usually with 3-4 rows of spines.

White Pearl

Adults can grow to 18 inch





Potamotrygon sp. Itaituba

  • Common name:  Galaxy Ray, P14
  • Location:  River Tapajos in South AmericaP14

Description: A stunning ray and very popular among fish keepers. A predominantly deep black body colour with many small white spots littered across the fish; looking at this ray looks like looking into space hence the name. New born rays are born a light brownish colour with darker markings. As they grow they go through a huge change as their body colour turns to the deep black and the markings turn into white spots. Adult can grow to 26 inch


Potamotrygon sp. Mantilla

  • Common name:  P19, Mantilla
  • Location: BrazilMantilla

Description:  A dark based disk often a dark gold colour however can also be a blue.

Known for its sporadic scribbled markings. A large ray and can easily reach 24 inch across the disk and often far bigger than this.


Potamotrygon Motoro “Marbled” Variant

  • Common name: P01, Marbled variant
  • Location:  BrazilMarble

Description: Found within the middle and lower parts of the Amazon drainage , including the Rio Trombetas, Rio Tocantins and Rio Pará.

A brown based ray with circular orange spots covering its body.  Adults can grow to 18 inch across the disk