RIVERSIDE WILDLIFE IN THE RAINFOREST
Few riverine (bank) plant species will be found in the forest. These tend to resemble gap-colonizers and edge species
that grow well in the strong sunlight of open areas. There is not a great diversity of riverside plant species,
and rivers are often bordered by walls of vines which cover trees because of the access to bright tropical sunlight.
The presence of this thick vegetation is largely why early explorers in the Amazon referred to the rainforest as
an "impenetrable jungle."
Periodically inundated floodplain forests
are quite different from terra firme
forests found on well-drained soils. Since floodplain forests have high turnover rates, they are characterized by lower tree diversity and a less-developed canopy. Island forests typically consist of this type of forest. In the Amazon, floodplain forests have high densities of fruiting trees which attract large numbers of mammals.
Many terrestrial animals depend on rainforest waters for survival, and some are found almost exclusively along rivers
Reptiles are abundant along rainforest waterways. Lizards, including water dragons (Australia), monitors (Africa, Asia, Australia), iguanas (New World), and other species are especially common.
One of the most interesting is the basilisk lizard of the New World. This lizard, popularly known as the
Jesus Christ lizard, has the ability to run across water for considerable distances by using its long toes and
tail. Any visitor to the rainforest can get countless hours of enjoyment by chasing these lizards off beaches and
watching them use their quick stepping to support their weight as they escape across the water.
+ Pictures of rainforest river wildlife