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 stingrayspossibly the largest freshwater fish in the worldHogan 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 tailand wrapped in a cloth in this picturecan easily puncture skin and bone.
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Photograph by Stefan Lovgren