Biodiversity in the Amazon
The Amazon is the largest ecosystem in the world and is home to about 30 percent of the world's species. The Amazon's species include a colorful array of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and insects.
There are over 300 types of mammals found in the Amazon rain forest and its surrounding areas. Most of these are bats and rodents; the biggest rodent in the world, the capaybara, can be found in the Amazon. The capaybara can weigh up to 200 pounds. Over 800 species of bats inhabit the rain forest. The most commonly known mammals of the rain forest are the monkeys. There are many types of monkeys found in the Amazon including Capuchin, Squirrel, and Wooly. Sloth and giant Anteaters are also common to the Amazon. More graceful are the jaguars that roam the jungle. Most people are unaware that there are two types of freshwater dolphins found in the waters of the Amazon. There is the gray dolphin and the pink dolphin, which unfortunately we did not see ( ).
While in the Amazon, just take a look at the treetops to see the most beautiful and exotic birds. The Amazon is home to over 1,500 types of birds. Shown above is the McCall with their exquisite colors and the small bird below is the Yellow Nape. Other colorful birds found in the Amazon include the Parrot and the Toucan. Deforestation affects all life in the Amazon rain forest but especially the birds that live amongst the trees ( ).
More than 3,000 species of fish inhabit the Amazon River and its 1,100 tributaries. The most popular fish is the piranha that is known for killing large animals with its sharp teeth. Another interesting fish in the Amazon waters is the Pirarucu that can be up to 16 feet long. Also found in the waters are giant Amazonian catfish which migrated about 2,000 miles ( ).
Most of the reptiles found in the Amazon forest are small and hidden amongst the vegetation, but the larger reptiles species are far more popular. The infamous Anaconda is the worlds heaviest snake that notoriously swallows its prey (sometimes humans) whole. Although most Anacondas never reach the maximum 30 feet they are very feared. Caiman are a type of small alligator that live in the tributaries of the Amazon. Even though the Caiman are smaller than alligators, they can still kill almost any animal that comes to the shore. Another inhabitant of the Amazon waters is the turtle; there are 13 species of turtles that live in the waters. The largest of the turtles in the Amazon is the Giant River turtle that can weigh up to 160 pounds. Other reptiles found in the Amazon are the Iguana, Anole, and Lizard ( ).
Frogs are the most common amphibians in the rain forest. Approximately 300 species of frogs live in the rain forest. Tropical frogs have the luxury of living in the trees because the humidity of the rain forest provides enough moisture for them to survive. Tropical frogs are often colorful, like the dendrobates azures. Tropical frogs can be poisonous as well, like the poison arrow dart frog ( ) .
Over 90 percent of the species in the Amazon rain forest are insects, and a square mile of rain forest has more than 50,000 species of insects (YIKES). There are 1,300 species of beautifully colored butterflies that fly in the Amazon. The rain forest is also full of spiders, ants, katydids, beetles, caterpillars, wasps and moths ( ) .
The Amazon has more species than imaginable. We were fortunate enough to see a few of the thousands of creatures that call the Amazon home. It was truly an experience to see the Amazon and all of it splendor.