Tag Archive: Flooded Amazon

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (Ray-finned fishes)
Order: Siluriformes (Catfishes)
Family: Doradidae (Thorny catfishes)

Genus/species: Oxydoras niger

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS:  A stocky brown catfish with three pairs of barbels.  Like all members of their family, have bony plates that protect the head and hook-like scutes that run along the lateral line. The Scutes on the O. niger are sharp and can cause significant lacerations.

Length up to 1 m (3.3 ft) in length and weigh up to 14 kg (30 lbs)

DISTRIBUTION/ HABITAT: South America: Amazon and possibly Orinoco River basins. Occur over mud in streams and lakes.

DIET IN THE WILD: The Ripsaw Catfishes large mouth creates a suction to vacuum up detritus, insect larvae, crustaceans, and plant material. When the forest is flooded, they feed exclusively on seeds and fruit.

REPRODUCTION: Sexes separate. Fertilization is external. Adults are non-guarders.


REMARKS: Members of the family Doradidae are known as “talking catfishes” as they make a strange, creaking noise when removed from the water., a sound produced by movement of the pectoral spine within its socket and amplified by the swim bladder.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Amazon Flooded Tunnel 2018

Animal Diversity Web ADW animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Oxydoras_niger/

 fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/Oxydoras-niger.html

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Boida (Boas)

Genus/species: Eunectes murinus

Anaconda 8629891977_66e2cd6195_b

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS  Can grow to more than 29 feet (8.8 meters), weigh more than 227 kilograms (550 pounds) and measure more than 30 cm (12 in) (30 centimeters) in diameter. Gigantic, heavy-bodied, dark green boa with dark spots.  A distinctive stripe runs from the rear edge of the eye, diagonally downwards to the back of the head. The stripe is edged with black and varies in colouration, from greenish to orange. Eyes and nasal openings are on top of their heads, allowing them to lay in wait for prey while remaining nearly completely submerged. The female dwarfs the male and is almost five times heavier. 

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT South America: Amazon and Orinoco drainages from Colombia and Venezuela to East Bolivia and Central Brazil. Associated strongly with watercourses, swamps and other freshwater locations.

DIET IN THE WILD Monkeys, deer, peccaries, pacas, agoutis, birds, fish, caiman and turtles. Prey usually killed by constriction; prey suffocates but is not crushed. Usually feed in water. Jaws attached by stretchy ligaments allow them to swallow their prey whole, no matter the size, and they can go weeks or months without food after a big meal. Primarily a lie-in-wait predator.


REPRODUCTION  Female anacondas retain their eggs and give birth to two to three dozen live young. Baby snakes are about 0.6 meters (2 ft). After mating, the female may eat one or more of her mating partners, as she does not take in food for up to seven months.

MORTALITY/LONGEVITY: Lives to over 29 years.

REMARKS: The anaconda is, pound for pound, the largest snake in the world. Its cousin, the reticulated python, can reach slightly greater lengths, but the enormous girth of the anaconda makes it almost twice as heavy. Can remained submerged for a very long time lying in wait for its next meal.
The California Academy of Sciences specimen is a female. Length/wt 2013: 13 ft 11 inches long and weight 92 lbs.
2008 she was 3m (10 feet) long and weighed 90 lbs.


Color of Life Note: The dark brownish-green Anaconda demonstrates concealment by laying hidden in the murky waters of the Amazon. It is more visible at the California Academy of Sciences exhibit water which is markedly more transparent.

LOCATION: Amazon flooded forest exhibit


California Academy of Sciences

U. of Michigan Animal diversity Web animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Eunectes_murinus/

Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/794661/overview

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fishes)
Subclass: Elasmobranchii (sharks, rays and skates)
Order: Myliobatiformes
Family: Potamotrygonidae (river stingrays)

Genus/species: Potamotrygon motoro

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Oval disc, with a greyish-brown upper surface patterned with distinct yellow-orange spots, and a white underside. Like most rays, flat teeth are used to grip and crush prey that is sucked into the ventral mouth. Note periscoping eyes which protrude from sand when buried. Olfaction is a major and well-developed means of perception for these stingrays; their olfactory organs are situated in laterally placed cartilaginous capsules on the top of the head. The spine on the tip of the tail is capable of delivering a painful sting.
Length up to 1 m (3 ft.) and weight to 15 kg (33 lb.).

Potamotrygon motoro3407966512_7f4218b0a0_b

DISTRIBUTION: South America: Uruguay, Paraná- Paraguay, Orinoco, and Amazon Basins.

HABITAT: Found in freshwater calm waters, especially on the sandy margins of lagoons, brooks and streams. Able to tolerate only a narrow range of salinities. Lost ability to retain urea decreasing osmolarity for fresh water unlike salt water relatives.

DIET: Mostly benthic hard-shelled invertebrates, such as clams, mussels, and crustaceans. Also worms, insect larvae, and small fishes.

REPRODUCTION: Fertilization is internal with the male attaches himself to a female by firmly clamping his jaws onto the posterior margin of her disk, sometimes leaving prominent bite marks. Females produce eggs that hatch inside the female and are then ‘born’ live after a gestation period of no more than three months. The litter size varies, from 3 to 21 young.

LIFESPAN: Maximum of 15 years in captivity.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red list Data Deficient (DD)

Potamotrygon motoro10203193423_b185d566b4_k

REMARKS: One of the seven species of this genus inhabiting southern South America.
Fishermen also harpoon these rays during floods when they are found resting over vegetation in shallow water. P.motoro apparently has delicious meat.


fishbase fishbase.org/summary/Potamotrygon-motoro.html

ARKive  www.arkive.org/ocellate-river-stingray/potamotrygon-motoro/

Encyclopedia of Life eol.org/pages/205366/details

IUCN Red List  www.iucnredlist.org/details/39404/0

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (Ray-finned fishes)
Order: Characiformes (Characins)
Family: Prochilodontidae (Flannel-mouth characiforms)

Genus/species: Semaprochilodus taeniurus


GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Laterally compressed, silvery body. Caudal fin horizontally striped with 6+ black bands, alternating with deep gray bands.  Length to 24 cm (9.5 inches). 


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Amazon basin and its tributaries
such as the Rio Negro. Migrates and spawns in river channels but feeds mostly in the floodplains.

DIET IN THE WILD: Periphyton (a complex mixture of algae, cyanobacteria, microbes and detritus that is attached to surfaces in most aquatic ecosystems).

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List Least concern, CITES; Not Evaluated. S. taeniurus is one of the most common fish in the Amazon basin and the most abundant

flagtail prochilodusFllagtail Prochilodus  Semaprochilodus insignis (Prochilodontidae) Flannel-mouthed Characins  IMG_3094


REMARKS: Has two stomachs. One filled with mud and likely designed to process and  digest detritus.

 Amazon Flooded Tunnel

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/8532474845/in/set-72157620568438047

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-Se

fishbase  www.fishbase.us/summary/11898

 Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/1010276/details


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Characiformes (Characins)
Family: Serrasalmidae

Genus/species: Colossoma macropomum

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Compressed body. The body is laterally compressed with an arched back. Color is basically gray to olive above, dark below often with spots and blemishes in the middle. All fins are black. Length to 100 cm (40 inches).. Weight to 30 kg (66 pounds) Length to 100 cm (40 inches).. Weight to 30 kg (66 lbs)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: South America: Amazon and Orinoco basins as wild form; aquacultured form widely distributed in South America. Adults: open water of large rivers and seasonally flooded forests. Young stay in black waters of flood plains until maturity.

DIET IN THE WILD: Teeth in front are molars for chewing, NOT ripping. Good for eating fruits, greens and grain during seasonal flooding. Also feeds on zooplankton, insects, snails and decaying plants
ACADEMY DIET: Fruit, pears apples and bananas. (Allan Jan, biologist).

REPRODUCTION: They usually spawn once per year in whitewater rivers and inundated floodplain forests. They are substratum egg scatterers and do not guard their eggs. Life span: 20 years or more.

IUCN Red List and CITES Not Evaulated

REMARKS: C. macropomum has large nasal openings for excellent odor detection.
Can extend lower lip in low oxygen water to increase flow across gills.
Adults are important as seed dispersers for large-seeded plants during seasonal flooding.
Farmed as a food fish in South America. Popular in aquaculture because it can live in mineral poor waters and is very resistant to diseases.
Because the red-bellied pacu are closely related to piranha, sharing their coloration and shape when juveniles, Hollywood producers have been known to use the pacu as a stand-in for piranha. Actors are appreciative of the pacu’s preference for vegetable matter.


fishbase fishbase.org/summary/263

Docent Rainforest Course Materials, California Academy of Sciences. 2014

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Pleurodira (side-necked turtles)
Family: Chelidae (“snake-necked turtles”)

Genus/species: Chelus fimbriata

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Color is faded yellow, washed out browns, oranges, and greys. The carapace has three lengthwise knobby keels with algae covering much of the carapace resembling a piece of bark, camouflaging it from possible predators. The head is widely triangular with large lateral flaps of skin and three barbels on the chin and four additional filamentous barbels at the upper jaw, The snout is a long protuberance used as a snorkel.  Carapace length to up to 45 cm (18 inches). Weight to 15 kg (33 lb).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Tropical. Amazon Basin, South America. Found near the bottom of turbid waterways in lakes, ponds and sluggish creeks. Rarely leaves the water.

DIET IN THE WILD: Carnivore. A “lay-in-wait” predator. Fishes and aquatic invertebrates are captured with the “gape and suck” technique. The opening of its mouth creates a vacuum to draw in prey with the mouth snaping shut, expelling the water and the fish swallowed whole.

REPRODUCTION: Fertilization is internal. They excavate their nests in decaying vegetation at the forest edge laying 12 to 28 eggs with an incubation periods of around 200 days.

LIFESPAN: To 15 years in captivity.

CONSERVATION: IUCN and CITES No special status.




REMARKS: The common name “matamata” is said to have the meaning “I kill” in one of the South American native languages.
C.fimbriatus has extremely poor eyesight. It can sense sound through a well developed tympanum on both sides of the head.


Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-bJ 

 U. of Michigan ADW animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Chelus_fimbriatus/

Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/795410/details

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608449490716/





Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura (frogs)
Family: Hylidae (“tree frogs and their allies”)

Genus/species: Trachycephalus resinifictrix

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Light grey in color with brown or black banding,  Older frogs develop a slightly bumpy texture. The iris is golden with a black Maltese cross centered on the pupil. There is a vocal sac on each side of the head.  Reach 2.5 to 4 inches in length.


GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Light grey in color with brown or black banding, Older frogs develop a slightly bumpy texture. Reach 2.5 to 4 inches in length.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT:  Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Suriname, Venezuela.  Found in the canopy of tropical primary humid rainforests. They often inhabit vegetation which extends over permanent, slow-moving water.


DIET IN THE WILD: Insectivorous

REPRODUCTION: Mainly in the rainy season between November and May. Clutches of about 2500 eggs form a gelatinous mass that floats near the surface of water or adheres to the inner wall of the tree holes. Tadpoles feed on conspecific eggs and vegetable detritus until metamorphosis in the tree holes.


LIFESPAN Up to 25 years.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List; Least concern.


 REMARKS: The “milk” in the name comes from the poisonous milky-coloured fluid these frogs excrete when stressed.


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eol  eol.org/pages/1025259/details

Connecticut Beardsely Zoo  beardsleyzoo.org/amazonmilkfrog-fk1


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class Actinopterygii, (ray-finned fishes)
Order Characiformes (Characins)
Family Characidae (Characins)

Genus/species: Ctenobrycon spilurus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Large eyed, deep bodied, laterally compressed, disc shaped, silvery color with black spot on caudal peduncle. Variable amount of red in the fins under the fish. C. spilurus can reach 8 cm (3 in) length.

Silver tetra 3432696594_df6375f8e3_b

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: South America: Orinoco River basin. Found in areas of calm freshwater water.

DIET IN THE WILD: Voracious omnivore. Mainly zooplankton but also plants, worms, insects and crustaceans.

Silver Tetra 3178305677_8d30dc942d_b

CONSERVATION: IUCN Redlist; not evaluated.

Location: Flooded Amazon Anaconda Exhibit AM03


Ref. A Docent & Guide View of the Steinhart Aquarium Species

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608376694453/with/3178305677/

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Fishbase: www.fishbase.org/summary/speciessummary.php?id=10629

Encyclopedia of life  eol.org/pages/206551/maps

IUCN Red list: www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/search

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Cyprinodontiformes (Rivulines, killifishes and live bearers)
Family: Anablepidae (Four-eyed fishes, onesided livebearers)

Genus/species: Anableps sp.   (Anableps, means upward-looking).

Four-eyed Fish 9866233624_8c51a7afd7_o

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Average length : 14.0 cm (5.5 inches). Eyes raised above the top of the head and divided in two different parts, so that they can see below and above the water surface at the same time. Fewer than 80 scales in row above lateral line.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: South America: Trinidad to the Amazon delta in Brazil. Mainly found in freshwater, sometimes in brackish parts of lagoons and mangrove coastlines


DIET IN THE WILD: Spend most of their time at the surface of the water. Their diet mostly consists of terrestrial insects which are readily available at the surface and other invertebrates and diatoms living on the mud, and small fishes.

For-eyed Fis  IMG_6611

REMARKS: Can remain on mud bottom exposed to air during low tide.

Four-eyed Fish  8494523788_bec5896a6c_k

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Characiformes (Characins)
Family: Characidae (Characins)

Genus/species: Paracheirodon axelrodi

Cardinal Tetra  5356076192_ec6dc66610_b-2

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Length to 3 cm (1.1 inch). Dark above, Iridescent blue line characteristic of the Paracheirodon species laterally bisecting the fish, with the body below this line being vivid red in color,

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: South America: Upper Rio Orinoco and Rio Negro. Found in schools of 12–30 over shoals in the middle water column; non-migratory.

DIET IN THE WILD: Omnivorous, Small crustaceans, worms filamentous algae and fallen fruit.

Cardinal Tetra 10286374786_182498b862_o

MORTALITY and LONGEVITY: Adults often perish due to starvation after spring floods when foraging habitats retract during the low water season. Preyed upon by other fishes including piranha. Live about one year in the wild average 5 years in captivity.

CONSERVATION: IUCN: Not evaluated.

Flooded Amazon, Cardinal Tetra tank, AM14

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Ref. Fishbase, EOL, Seriously Fish, Animal Diversity Web (U. of Michigan)


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