Massive stingray might be a world record

Enormous stingray at the moment of release; photo via Facebook

Anglers in Thailand have caught and released a massive stingray that could be the largest freshwater fish ever landed.

The light-brown stingray, which resembles a vast flying carpet, boasts an 8-foot wingspan and measures 14 feet from head to tail. Its weight was estimated, using a time-tested measurement formula, at between 750 and  800 pounds.

Jeff Corwin, host of ABC’s “Ocean Mysteries with Jeff Corwin,” was the main angler, but others helped battle the stingray during a two-hour struggle in the Maekong River. After its capture, the stingray was guided to a shallow pan, measured and briefly inspected. It was then pushed gently back into the river.

Wrote Corwin on Facebook: “Turns out this giant freshwater stingray may be a world record for the largest freshwater fish ever captured!”

Of the photo that accompanied this post (atop this story), Corwin stated, “As you can see in the picture this is the moment of release, the animal is doing well and thriving.”

Stingray being studied in a pen before its release; photo via Facebook

On hand during the capture was Nantarika Chansue, a leading authority on freshwater stingrays. Chansue performed an ultrasound while the stingray was in the pen and determined that the critter was pregnant with two babies.

The group was unable to obtain a precise weight of the stingray, because that would have required hoisting the ungainly critter out of the water, risking its health.

Zeb Hogan, a professor of biology at the University of Nevada at Reno, told National Geographic: “Certainly [this] was a huge fish, even compared to other giant freshwater stingrays, and definitely ranks among the largest freshwater fish in the world.”

The catch will be featured on an upcoming “Ocean Mysteries” episode.

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