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Amazon Wildlife

By Rhett Butler [citation]

The Amazon is home to more species of plants and animals than any other terrestrial ecosystem on the planet -- perhaps 30% of the world's species are found there. Its biodiversity is astounding: a single bush in the Amazon may have more species of ants than the entire British Isles, while a lone hectare of forest may have more than 600 species of trees.

Take a look at some of these examples of the Amazon's biological richness:

Amazon biodiversity by the numbers:
  • 40,000 plant species
  • 16,000 tree species
  • 5600 fish species
  • 1300 birds
  • 430+ mammals
  • 1000+ amphibians
  • 400+ reptiles


Recent news articles on Amazon biodiversity

Scientists: Neotropical otter should not be considered threatened

(06/24/2014) The Neotropical otter (Lontra longicaudis) should not be considered threatened by the IUCN Red List, according to a new paper in mongabay.com's open-access journal Tropical Conservation Science. Currently the species is listed as Data Deficient, but was considered Vulnerable until 2000.


Camera trap captures first ever video of rarely-seen bird in the Amazon...and much more

(06/17/2014) A camera trap program in Ecuador's embattled Yasuni National Program has struck gold, taking what researchers believe is the first ever film of a wild nocturnal curassow (Nothocrax urumutum). In addition, the program has captured video of other rarely-seen animals, including the short-eared dog and the giant armadillo.


After throwing out referendum, Ecuador approves oil drilling in Yasuni's embattled heart

(06/02/2014) By 2016, oil drilling will begin in what scientists believe is the most biodiverse place on the planet: remote Yasuni National Park. Late last month, Ecuador announced it had approved permits for oil drilling in Yasuni's Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputinin (ITT) block, an untouched swathe of primary rainforest covering around 100,000 hectares or about 10 percent of the park.


Of jaguars and loggers: new film to showcase one of the least-known regions in the deep Amazon

(06/02/2014) In August, three young filmmakers will go on the expedition of a lifetime. They plan to spend six months filming in one of the most remote, most spectacular, and most endangered ecosystems on the planet: the Las Piedras River system. This unprotected swathe of Amazon jungle contains massive anacondas, prowling jaguars, and even uncontacted indigenous people.


Oil or rainforest: new website highlights the plight of Yasuni National Park

(03/20/2014) A new multimedia feature story by Brazilian environmental news group, ((o))eco, highlights the ongoing debate over Yasuni National Park in Ecuador, arguably the most biodiverse place on the planet.


Scientist discovers a plethora of new praying mantises (pictures)

(03/19/2014) Despite their pacific name, praying mantises are ferocious top predators with powerful, grasping forelimbs; spiked legs; and mechanistic jaws. In fact, imagine a tiger that can rotate its head 180 degrees or a great white that blends into the waves and you'll have a sense of why praying mantises have developed a reputation. Yet, many praying mantis species remain little known to scientists, according to a new paper in ZooKeys that identifies an astounding 19 new species from the tropical forests of Central and South America.


Several Amazonian tree frog species discovered, where only two existed before

(03/18/2014) We have always been intrigued by the Amazon rainforest with its abundant species richness and untraversed expanses. Despite our extended study of its wildlife, new species such as the olinguito (Bassaricyon neblina), a bear-like carnivore hiding out in the Ecuadorian rainforest, are being identified as recently as last year. In fact, the advent of efficient DNA sequencing and genomic analysis has revolutionized how we think about species diversity. Today, scientists can examine known diversity in a different way, revealing multiple 'cryptic' species that have evaded discovery by being mistakenly classified as a single species based on external appearance alone.


Mother of God: meet the 26 year old Indiana Jones of the Amazon, Paul Rosolie

(03/17/2014) Not yet 30, Paul Rosolie has already lived a life that most would only dare dream of—or have nightmares over, depending on one's constitution. With the Western Amazon as his panorama, Rosolie has faced off jaguars, wrestled anacondas, explored a floating forest, mentored with indigenous people, been stricken by tropical disease, traveled with poachers, and hand-reared a baby anteater. It's no wonder that at the ripe age of 26, Rosolie was already written a memoir: Mother of God.


Amazon trees super-diverse in chemicals

(03/03/2014) In the Western Amazon—arguably the world's most biodiverse region—scientists have found that not only is the forest super-rich in species, but also in chemicals. Climbing into the canopy of thousands of trees across 19 different forests in the region—from the lowland Amazon to high Andean cloud forests—the researchers sampled chemical signatures from canopy leaves and were surprised by the levels of diversity uncovered.


New $20,000 reporting grant explores benefits of Amazonian protected areas

(02/21/2014) With six Special Reporting Initiatives (SRI) already under way, Mongabay.org is excited to announce a call for applications for its latest journalism grant topic: Amazonian protected areas: benefits for people. The Amazon’s system of protected areas has grown exponentially in the past 25 years. In many South American nations, the mission of protected areas has expanded from biodiversity conservation to improving human welfare. However, given the multiple purposes and diverse management of many protected areas, it is often difficult to measure their effect on human populations.






Rainforest calendars


Rainforest Calendar



Amazon Rainforest Calendar


Owl butterfly (Caligo idomeneus)
Owl butterfly (Caligo idomeneus)


Capybara leaving water with a bird on its back
Capybara leaving water with a bird on its back


Scarlet macaw (Ara macao)
Scarlet macaw (Ara macao)


Dusky Titi Monkey (Callicebus spp.)
Dusky Titi Monkey (Callicebus spp.)


Hyla rhodopepla tree frog on leaf
Hyla rhodopepla tree frog on leaf


Clear-winged Cithaerias pireta butterfly feeding on dung
Clear-winged Cithaerias pireta butterfly feeding on dung


Blue-and-yellow macaws (Ara ararauna), Yellow-crowned parrots (Amazona ochrocephala), and Scarlet macaws feeding on clay
Blue-and-yellow macaws (Ara ararauna), Yellow-crowned parrots (Amazona ochrocephala), and Scarlet macaws feeding on clay


Brown Agouti (Dasyprocta variegata) on clay lick
Brown Agouti (Dasyprocta variegata) on clay lick


Unknown bright green lizard in the Peruvian Amazon
Unknown bright green lizard in the Peruvian Amazon


Chestnut Eared Araçari (Pteroglossus castanotis)
Chestnut Eared Araçari (Pteroglossus castanotis)


Monkey frog (Phyllomedusa bicolor)
Monkey frog (Phyllomedusa bicolor)



Jaguar (Panthera onca)


Orange, green, black, yellow, and turquoise grasshopper


Red howler monkey howling


Ocelot


Brown tree frog near Puerto Nariño


Boa constrictor in defensive mode


Squirrel Monkeys (Saimiri sciureus)


Common green iguana (Iguana iguana) on a tree trunk in the Amazon rainforest


Red insect


Brown spider


Woolly monkey

Monkey frog (Phyllomedusa bicolor)
Monkey frog (Phyllomedusa bicolor)


Three-striped Poison dart frog (Epipedobates trivittatus)
Three-striped Poison dart frog (Epipedobates trivittatus)


Hyla tree frog species
Hyla tree frog species


Blue-and-yellow macaws flying toward clay lick
Blue-and-yellow macaws flying toward clay lick


Hyla tree frog close up
Hyla tree frog close up



Harpy Eagle, Harpia harpyja, in Colombia


Poisonous caterpillar displaying its neon green but venemous spines


Borugo (Agouti taczanowskii)


Red howler monkey


Green macaw


Leaf toad in the Amazon

More Amazon wildlife photos

Brazil | Colombia | Peru

(NEXT Amazon rainforest destruction)

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KEY ARTICLES
  • Brazil could halt Amazon deforestation within a decade
  • Concerns over deforestation may drive new approach to cattle ranching in the Amazon
  • Are we on the brink of saving rainforests?
  • Amazon deforestation doesn't make communities richer, better educated, or healthier
  • Brazil's plan to save the Amazon rainforest
  • Beef consumption fuels rainforest destruction
  • How to save the Amazon rainforest
  • Oil development could destroy the most biodiverse part of the Amazon
  • Future threats to the Amazon rainforest
  • Half the Amazon rainforest will be lost within 20 years
  • Can cattle ranchers and soy farmers save the Amazon rainforest?
  • Globalization could save the Amazon rainforest
  • Amazon natives use Google Earth, GPS to protect forest home



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    Copright Rhett A. Butler 2010-2014