Potamotrygon cf. histrix (cururu stingray) are endemic freshwater stingrays from the middle region of the Rio Negro in the Brazilian Amazon basin and are exported worldwide as ornamentals caught by artisanal fishermen. The transport process from capture to final destination is long and stressful. This study quantified stress related changes in corticosterone, blood and water samples (baseline, pre-transport, 3h, 12h and 24h) analyzed during a transport experiment which tested two water additives (tetracycline and the probiotic Efinol). There was a significant stepwise increase in corticosterone levels in stingrays over transport time in combination with osmoregulatory disturbances suggesting a stress related role of this corticosteroid. There were significant increases in water conductivity, Na(+) and K(+) losses and ammonia excretion. Blood parameters such as glucose, hematocrit, red blood count and urea did not change significantly during the experiment. Glucose levels did not increase significantly during transport and this may be due to the fact that other elasmobranchs have been shown to rely more on ketone bodies for energy rather than glucose and produce ammonia as their main nitrogenous waste. The mineralocorticoid action of this hormone has been shown in elasmobranchs and most likely plays a role in osmotic homeostasis. The use of probiotic and especially antibiotic should be avoided since no beneficial effects were observed.
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