Tag Archive: Flooded Amazon

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

Genus/species: Eunectes murinus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS:  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 coloration, 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.
Like all snakes, anaconda have a forked tongue they helps them locate prey and mates and to navigate their environment, in conjunction with the tubular Jacobson’s organ in the roof of the snake’s mouth.

SIZE: Up 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.

Anaconda 8629891977_66e2cd6195_b

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: They feed on any prey that they can kill and swallow including monkeys, deer, peccaries, pacus, agoutis, birds, fish, caiman and turtles. Prey usually killed by constriction; prey suffocates and often drowning in water. 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.

Academy Diet: Frozen/thawed rabbits (P. Dwight Biologist).


REPRODUCTION: Green anacondas are ovoviviparous (eggs hatch in the mother and snakes are born alive). They are polyandrous breeding with multiple-male aggregations of up to 13 males. 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 after birth.

PREDATORS:Caimen. Jaguars, and green anacondas.

MORTALITY/LONGEVITY: Lives to over 29 years.

REMARKS: The anaconda is, pound for pound, the largest snake in the world. 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.

Some indigenous peoples of Brazil and Peru use green anacondas body parts for magical and spiritual properties, in ritualistic purposes.

Green anacondas are among the only snakes that can reach the proportions necessary to possibly kill and consume a human being. However, attacks by green anacondas are rare due to low.

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.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Flooded Amazon Anaconda Exhibit 2018

U. of Michigan Animal diversity Web https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Eunectes_murinus/#D1CC06F0-924A-11E1-9D4D-002500F14F28

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

Ron’sWordpress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-bt

Ron’s flickr   http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608449603666/with/3636385495/

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Siluriformes (Catfish)
Family: Callichthyidae (Callichthyid armored catfishes)
Subfamily: Corydoradinae (Cory)

Genus/species: Corydoras sterbai

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The head has light spotted markings over a dark background. As part of the armored catfish group they possess two rows of bony plates running along the flanks instead of scales.

Length up to 6.5cm (2.6 inches)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Central Brazil, Bolivia. Fresh water benthic (bottom dwellers) in creeks, pools and flooded forest.

HABITAT: The Sterbas Cory is a fresh water bottom dweller.

DIET IN THE WILD: invertebrates, detritus (minimum algae)

REMARKS: C. sterbai like all Corys are facultative air breathers, gulping air in oxygen-poor waters absorbing it through its highly vascularized intestine.

They have sharp pectoral fin spines, which can also produce a painful sting.

IUCN: Not Evaluated


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Flooded Amazon 2018

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/5356076486/in/set-72157625825649576/

Fishbase. www.fishbase.org/summary/Corydoras-sterbai.html

Serious Fish www.seriouslyfish.com/species/corydoras-sterbai/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-18N



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

Genus/species: Ctenobrycon spilurus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS:  The Silver Tetra has large eyes (for murky water), and is deep bodied, laterally compressed, disc shaped, silvery color with black spot on caudal peduncle. There is a variable amount of red in the fins under the fish.

Length 8 cm (3 in)



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

DIET IN THE WILD: They are voracious omnivores feeding mainlyon zooplankton but also plants, worms, insects and crustaceans.


CONSERVATION: IUCN Redlist; not evaluated.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Flooded Amazon Anaconda Exhibit 2018

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

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

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-188

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)


GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: 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.

Average length : 14.0 cm (5.5 inches)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: They are found in 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: Four-eyed Fish 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.

REMARKS: Anableps sp. can remain on mud bottom exposed to air during low tide.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Flooded Amazon 2018

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/8485216682/in/set-72157608614099673

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

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/Anableps-anableps.html

Encyclopedia of life eol.org/pages/26824/overview


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

Genus/species: Paracheirodon axelrodi

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: 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,

Length up to 3 cm (1.1 inch)


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: The bright, neon, lateral stripe of cardinal tetras makes it difficult for predators to single out and attack an individual. Their schooling behavior also helps to protect individuals from predators.

Adults often perish due to starvation after spring floods when foraging habitats retract during the low water season. They are preyed upon by other fishes including piranha.

Cardinal Tetra live about one year in the wild average 5 years in captivity.

CONSERVATION: IUCN: Not evaluated.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Flooded Amazon 2018

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/10286374786/in/set-72157625825649576/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-18X

Animal diversity web ADW  animaldiversity.org/accounts/Paracheirodon_axelrodi/

fishbase. www.fishbase.org/summary/Paracheirodon-axelrodi.html

Encyclopedia of lifel eol.org/pages/213459/details


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

Genus/species: Semaprochilodus taeniurus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Flagtail Prochilodus silvery body is laterally compressed. The caudal fin is horizontally striped with 6+ black bands, alternating with deep gray bands.  

Length to 24 cm (9.5 inches)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: S. taeniurus is found in the Amazon basin and its tributaries such as the Rio Negro. It 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: They have two stomachs. One filled with mud and likely designed to process and  digest detritus.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Amazon Flooded Tunnel 2018

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

General info on Characins. https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/26770704548/in/dateposted-public/

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: Orange-spot Stingrays have an 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.  Rays have an accessory respiratory opening, the Spiracle which is an adapted gill slit which has migrated to the top of the stingray. When the stingray is resting on the bottom the spiracle allows them to breathe.

Length up to 1 m (3 ft.) and weight up to 15 kg (33 lb.)


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

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

DIET IN THE WILD: They feed mostly on benthic hard-shelled invertebrates, such as clams, mussels, and crustaceans and also on 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)

REMARKS: P. motoro is one of the seven species of this genus inhabiting southern South America.

The Operculum pupillare inside the eye which controls the amount of light entering the eye. In dim light it will retract allowing greater light in and better vision at night.

They are not dangerous unless stepped on or threatened.

Fishermen also harpoon these rays during floods when they are found resting over vegetation in shallow water. P.motoro apparently has delicious meat.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Flooded Forest Floor 2018

Ron’s flickr river stingrays  https://freshwaterstingrays.co.uk/category/freshwater-stingray-facts/

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3407966512/in/album-72157608387905158/

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

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1tm

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Cichlidae (Cichlids)

Genus/species: Uaru Amphiacanthoides

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The body of the Uaru cichlid is deep and oval disc shaped. Color is mostly brown with a prominent thick horizontal black stripe covering the mid-section. Immature specimens are mottled in brown and black. They will typically achieve their adult coloration at about 4 inches in size.

Length up to 25 cm (10 in)

DISRTIBUTION/HABITAT: South America: Amazon River basin,

DIET IN THE WILD: The Uaru feeds on worms, crustaceans and insects but needs plants as supplement

REPRODUCTION: Parents care for (up to 200) eggs and larvae



California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Amazon Flooded Forest 2018

For more about cichlids as a family 

fishbase. www.fishbase.org/summary/11187

EOL eol.org/pages/220139/hierarchy_entries/27929141/details

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/7674722288/in/album-72157625825649576/

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

Genus/species: Colossoma macropomum


The Black Pacu 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. It is the second heaviest scaled freshwater fish in South America (after the Arapiama)

Length up to 100 cm (40 inches) Weight up to 30 kg (66 lbs)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: South America: Amazon and Orinoco basins as wild form; aquacultured form widely distributed in South America. Found in open water of large rivers and seasonally flooded forests. Young stay in black waters of flood plains until maturity. Has been introduced to Thailand and is established

DIET IN THE WILD: Pacu 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: Black Pacu aka Tambaqui 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.
They can extend the 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. They are popular in aquaculture because it can live in mineral poor waters and is very resistant to diseases.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Amazon Flooded Tunnel 2018

fishbase fishbase.org/summary/263

Docent Rainforest Course Materials, California Academy of Sciences. 2014

Ron’s WordPress shortlink   http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-8v

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/2973190705/in/set-72157620568438047/

United Nations www.fao.org/fishery/introsp/3885/en


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

 Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/6181844571/in/set-72157620568438047/

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