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The Amazon Basin is the part of
South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continent ...

South America
drained by the
Amazon River The Amazon River (, ; es, Río Amazonas, pt, Rio Amazonas) in South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a relatively small portion in the . It can also be described as the southern of a single con ...

Amazon River
and its
tributaries A tributary, or affluent, is a stream A stream is a body of water (Lysefjord) in Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") ...
. The Amazon
drainage basin A drainage basin is any area of land where precipitation In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the atmospheric sciences Atmospheric science is the study of the Earth's atmosphere File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Compos ...

drainage basin
covers an area of about , or about 35.5 percent of the South American continent. It is located in the countries of
Bolivia Bolivia ; ay, Wuliwya ; Quechuan languages, Quechua: ''Puliwya'' , officially the Plurinational State of Bolivia, is a landlocked country located in western-central South America. The constitutional capital is Sucre, while the seat of g ...

Bolivia
,
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 mill ...

Brazil
,
Colombia Colombia ( , ; ), officially the Republic of Colombia, is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning South America and an Insular region of Colombia, insular region in North America. It is bordered by the Carib ...

Colombia
,
Ecuador Ecuador ( ; ; Quechua Quechua may refer to: *Quechua people, several indigenous ethnic groups in South America, especially in Peru *Quechuan languages, a Native South American language family spoken primarily in the Andes, derived from a ...

Ecuador
,
French Guiana French Guiana ( or ; french: link=no, Guyane ) is an overseas department/region and single territorial collectivity A single territorial collectivity (french: collectivité territoriale ''unique'') is a chartered subdivision of France ...

French Guiana
(
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...
),
Guyana Guyana ( or ), officially the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, is a country on the northern mainland of South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a relatively small portion in the . It can also be ...

Guyana
,
Peru , , image_flag = Flag_of_Peru.svg , image_coat = Escudo_nacional_del_Perú.svg , other_symbol = Great Seal of the State , other_symbol_type = Seal (device), National seal , national_mott ...

Peru
,
Suriname Suriname (, sometimes spelled Surinam), officially known as the Republic of Suriname ( nl, Republiek Suriname ), is a country on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America. Borders of Suriname, It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the ...

Suriname
, and
Venezuela Venezuela (; ), officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ( es, link=no, República Bolivariana de Venezuela), is a country on the northern coast of South America, consisting of a continent A continent is any of several large l ...

Venezuela
. Most of the basin is covered by the
Amazon rainforest The Amazon rainforest, alternatively, the Amazon jungle or ; es, Selva amazónica, , or usually ; french: Forêt amazonienne; nl, Amazoneregenwoud. In English, the names are sometimes capitalized further, as Amazon Rainforest, Amazon Forest ...

Amazon rainforest
, also known as
Amazonia The Amazon rainforest, alternatively, the Amazon jungle or ; es, Selva amazónica, , or usually ; french: Forêt amazonienne; nl, Amazoneregenwoud. In English, the names are sometimes capitalized further, as Amazon Rainforest, Amazon Forest ...

Amazonia
. With a area of dense
tropical forest The tropics are the region of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is ...

tropical forest
, this is the largest
rainforest Rainforests are characterized by a closed and continuous tree canopy Canopy may refer to: Plants * Canopy (biology), aboveground portion of plant community or crop (including forests) * Canopy (grape), aboveground portion of grapevine Religi ...

rainforest
in the world.


Geography

The Amazon River begins in the
Andes Mountains The Andes, Andes Mountains or Andean Mountains ( es, Cordillera de los Andes) are the longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of South America South America is a continent e ...

Andes Mountains
at the west of the basin with its main tributary the Marañón River and Apurimac River in
Peru , , image_flag = Flag_of_Peru.svg , image_coat = Escudo_nacional_del_Perú.svg , other_symbol = Great Seal of the State , other_symbol_type = Seal (device), National seal , national_mott ...

Peru
. The highest point in the
watershed Watershed is a hydrological term, which has been adopted in other fields in a more or less figurative sense. It may refer to: Hydrology * Drainage divide, the line that separates neighbouring drainage basins ** European watershed * Drainage basin, ...
of the Amazon is the second biggest peak of
Yerupajá Yerupajá is a mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs from a plateau in having a limited summit area, and is larger than a hill, t ...

Yerupajá
at . It is largest basin and is located in Peru With a length of about before it drains into the
Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
, it is one of the two longest rivers in the world. A team of scientists has claimed that the Amazon is longer than the
Nile The Nile, , Bohairic , lg, Kiira , Nobiin Nobiin, or Mahas, is a Northern Nubian languages, Nubian language of the Nilo-Saharan languages, Nilo-Saharan language family. "Nobiin" is the genitive case, genitive form of ''Nòòbíí'' ("Nub ...

Nile
, but debate about its exact length continues. The Amazon system transports the largest volume of water of any river system, accounting for about 20% of the total water carried to the oceans by rivers. (Some of the
Amazon rainforest The Amazon rainforest, alternatively, the Amazon jungle or ; es, Selva amazónica, , or usually ; french: Forêt amazonienne; nl, Amazoneregenwoud. In English, the names are sometimes capitalized further, as Amazon Rainforest, Amazon Forest ...

Amazon rainforest
s are
deforested deforestation in 1750-2004 (net loss) showing anthropogenic modification of remaining forest. File:MODIS (2020-08-01).jpg, 300px, Dry seasons, exacerbated by climate change, and the use of slash-and-burn methods for clearing tropical forest ...
because of an increase in cattle ranches and soybean fields.) The Amazon basin formerly flowed west to the
Pacific Ocean The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. ...

Pacific Ocean
until the Andes formed, causing the basin to flow eastward towards the Atlantic Ocean. Politically the basin is divided into the Peruvian Legal Amazonia, Brazilian Legal Amazônia, the Amazon region of
Colombia Colombia ( , ; ), officially the Republic of Colombia, is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning South America and an Insular region of Colombia, insular region in North America. It is bordered by the Carib ...

Colombia
and parts of
Bolivia Bolivia ; ay, Wuliwya ; Quechuan languages, Quechua: ''Puliwya'' , officially the Plurinational State of Bolivia, is a landlocked country located in western-central South America. The constitutional capital is Sucre, while the seat of g ...

Bolivia
,
Ecuador Ecuador ( ; ; Quechua Quechua may refer to: *Quechua people, several indigenous ethnic groups in South America, especially in Peru *Quechuan languages, a Native South American language family spoken primarily in the Andes, derived from a ...

Ecuador
and the
Venezuela Venezuela (; ), officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ( es, link=no, República Bolivariana de Venezuela), is a country on the northern coast of South America, consisting of a continent A continent is any of several large l ...

Venezuela
n state of Amazonas.


Plant life

Plant growth is dense and its variety of animal inhabitants is comparatively high due to the heavy rainfall and the dense and extensive
evergreen In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the Anc ...
and
coniferous forest Conifers are a group of conifer cone, cone-bearing Spermatophyte, seed plants, a subset of gymnosperms. Scientifically, they make up the phylum, division Pinophyta (), also known as Coniferophyta () or Coniferae. The division contains a single ex ...
s. Little
sunlight Sunlight is a portion of the given off by the , in particular , , and light. On , sunlight is and through , and is obvious as when the Sun is above the . When direct is not blocked by s, it is experienced as sunshine, a combination of b ...

sunlight
reaches the ground due to the dense roof canopy by plants. The ground remains dark and damp and only shade-tolerant vegetation will grow here.
Orchid Orchidaceae ( ), commonly called the orchid family, is a diverse and widespread family In human society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social ...

Orchid
s and
bromeliad The Bromeliaceae (the bromeliads) is a Family (biology), family of monocot flowering plants of 75 genera and around 3590 known species native mainly to the Tropics, tropical Americas, with a few species found in the American subtropics and one in ...

bromeliad
s exploit trees and other plants to get closer to the sunlight. They grow hanging onto the branches or tree trunks with
aerial roots
aerial roots
, not as parasites but as
epiphyte 200px, '' Tillandsia bourgaei'' growing on an oak tree in Mexico An epiphyte is an organism that grows on the surface of a plant and derives its moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, water (in marine environments) or from debris accumulating a ...

epiphyte
s. Species of tropical trees native to the Amazon include
Brazil nut The Brazil nut (''Bertholletia excelsa'') is a South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up ...
,
rubber tree ''Hevea brasiliensis'', the Pará rubber tree, ''sharinga'' tree, seringueira, or most commonly, rubber tree or rubber plant, is a flowering plant Flowering plants include multiple members of the clade Angiospermae (), commonly called angio ...

rubber tree
and Assai palm.


Wildlife


Mammals

More than 1,400 species of
mammal Mammals (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be i ...
s are found in the Amazon, the majority of which are species of
bat Bats are mammal Mammals (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the po ...

bat
s and
rodent Rodents (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republi ...

rodent
s. Its larger mammals include the
jaguar The jaguar (''Panthera onca'') is a large cat The cat (''Felis catus'') is a domestic species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as ...

jaguar
,
ocelot The ocelot (''Leopardus pardalis'') is a medium-sized spotted Felidae, wild cat that reaches at the shoulders and weighs between . It was first scientific description, described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758. Two subspecies are recognized. It is n ...

ocelot
,
capybara The capybara (''Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris'') is a giant cavy rodent native to South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a relatively small portion in the . It can also be described as the southern o ...

capybara
, puma and
South American tapir The South American tapir (''Tapirus terrestris''), also commonly called the Brazilian tapir (from the Tupi ''tapi'ira''), the Amazonian tapir, the maned tapir, the lowland tapir, in Portuguese ''anta'', and in mixed Quechua Quechua may refer t ...
.


Birds

About 1500
bird Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With ...

bird
species inhabit the Amazon Basin. The
biodiversity Biodiversity is the biological variety and Genetic variability, variability of life, life on Earth. Biodiversity is a measure of variation at the Genetics, genetic, species, and ecosystem level. Terrestrial biodiversity is usually greater near ...

biodiversity
of the Amazon and the sheer number of diverse bird species is given by the number of different bird families that reside in these humid forests. An example of such would be the
cotinga The cotingas are a large family, Cotingidae, of suboscine passerine A passerine is any bird of the Order (biology), order Passeriformes (, Latin ''passer'' (“sparrow”) + ''formis'' (“-shaped”)), which includes more than half of all b ...
family, to which the
Guianan cock-of-the-rock The Guianan cock-of-the-rock (''Rupicola rupicola'') is a species of cotinga, a passerine A passerine is any bird of the Order (biology), order Passeriformes (, Latin ''passer'' (“sparrow”) + ''formis'' (“-shaped”)), which includes m ...
belong. Birds such as
toucan Toucans (, ) are members of the Neotropical The Neotropical realm is one of the eight biogeographic realms constituting Earth's land surface. Physically, it includes the tropics, tropical Ecoregion#Terrestrial, terrestrial ecoregions of the A ...

toucan
s, and
hummingbird Hummingbirds are Bird, birds native to the Americas and comprise the Family (biology), biological family Trochilidae. With about 360 species, they occur from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, but the vast majority of the species are found in the tropi ...

hummingbird
s are also found here.
Macaw Macaws are a group of New World parrots that are long-tailed and often colorful. They are popular in aviculture Aviculture is the practice of keeping and animal husbandry, breeding birds, especially of wild birds in captivity. Aviculture is ...

Macaw
s are famous for duck gathering by the hundreds along the clay cliffs of the Amazon River. In the western Amazon hundreds of
macaw Macaws are a group of New World parrots that are long-tailed and often colorful. They are popular in aviculture Aviculture is the practice of keeping and animal husbandry, breeding birds, especially of wild birds in captivity. Aviculture is ...

macaw
s and other
parrot Parrots, also known as psittacines , are birds of the roughly 398 species in 92 genus (biology), genera comprising the order (biology), order Psittaciformes , found mostly in tropics, tropical and subtropics, subtropical regions. The order is s ...

parrot
s descend to exposed river banks to consume clay on an almost daily basis, the exception being rainy days.


Reptiles

The
green anaconda The green anaconda (''Eunectes murinus''), also known as giant anaconda, common anaconda, common water boa or sucuri, is a boa species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic ran ...
inhabits the shallow waters of the Amazon and the
emerald tree boa ''Corallus caninus'', commonly called the emerald tree boa,Mehrtens JM. 1987. ''Living Snakes of the World in Color''. New York: Sterling Publishers. 480 pp. . is a non-venomous boa species found in the rainforest Rainforests are forest ...
and
boa constrictor
boa constrictor
live in the Amazonian tree tops. Many
reptile Reptiles, as most commonly defined, are the animals in the class Class or The Class may refer to: Common uses not otherwise categorized * Class (biology), a taxonomic rank * Class (knowledge representation), a collection of individuals or ...

reptile
s species are illegally collected and exported for the international pet trade. Live animals are the fourth largest commodity in the smuggling industry after drugs, diamonds and weapons.


Amphibians

More than 1,500 species of
amphibian Amphibians are ectothermic, tetrapod vertebrates of the Class (biology), class Amphibia. All living amphibians belong to the group Lissamphibia. They inhabit a wide variety of habitats, with most species living within terrestrial animal, ter ...
s swim and are found in the Amazon. Unlike temperate
frog A frog is any member of a diverse and largely carnivorous A carnivore , meaning "meat Meat is animal flesh that is eaten as food. Humans have hunted and killed animals for meat since prehistoric times. The advent of civilization all ...

frog
s which are mostly limited to
habitat In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Ecology considers at the ...

habitat
s near the water, tropical frogs are most abundant in the trees and relatively few are found near bodies of water on the forest floor. The reason for this occurrence is quite simple: frogs must always keep their
skin Skin is the layer of usually soft, flexible outer tissue covering the body of a vertebrate animal, with three main functions: protection, regulation, and sensation. Other cuticle, animal coverings, such as the arthropod exoskeleton, have differ ...

skin
moist since almost half of their
respiration Respiration may refer to: Biology * Cellular respiration, the process in which nutrients are converted into useful energy in a cell ** Anaerobic respiration, cellular respiration without oxygen ** Maintenance respiration, the amount of cellular ...
is carried out through their skin. The high
humidity Humidity is the concentration of water vapor, water vapour present in the air. Water vapor, the gaseous state of water, is generally invisible to the human eye. Humidity indicates the likelihood for precipitation (meteorology), precipitation, d ...

humidity
of the rainforest and frequent
rainstorm Rain is liquid water in the form of Drop (liquid), droplets that have condensation, condensed from atmosphere, atmospheric water vapor and then precipitation (meteorology), become heavy enough to fall under gravity. Rain is a major component ...

rainstorm
s gives tropical frogs infinitely more freedom to move into the trees and escape the many
predator Predation is a biological interaction In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical en ...

predator
s of rainforest waters. The differences between temperate and tropical frogs extend beyond their habitat.


Waterlife

Some differences compare to that in
rapids Rapids are sections of a river where the river bed has a relatively steep gradient In vector calculus, the gradient of a scalar-valued function, scalar-valued differentiable function of Function of several variables, several variables is the ...

rapids
, fauna in small streams differ from that in major rivers, and fauna in shallow sections show distinct differences compared to that in deep parts. By far the most diverse orders in the Amazon are
Characiformes Characiformes is an order of ray-finned fish, comprising the characins and their allies. Grouped in 18 recognized families, more than 2000 different species are described, including the well-known piranha and tetras.; Buckup P.A.: "Relationshi ...
(43% of total fish species in the Amazon) and
Siluriformes Catfish (or catfishes; order (biology), order Siluriformes or Nematognathi) are a diverse group of Actinopterygii, ray-finned fish. Named for their prominent barbel (anatomy), barbels, which resemble a cat's whiskers, catfish range in size an ...
(39%), but other groups with many species include
Cichlidae*Animal taxa named by Charles Lucien Bonaparte (1803−1857) — a 19th-century . Bonaparte, Charles Lucien French ornithologists French taxonomists 19th-century French zoologists Taxa by author, Bonaparte, Charles Lucien {{CatAutoTOC ...
(6%) and
Gymnotiformes The Gymnotiformes are a group of teleost bony fishes commonly known as the Neotropical or South American knifefish. They have long bodies and swim using undulations of their elongated anal fin. Found almost exclusively in fresh water (the on ...

Gymnotiformes
(3%). In addition to major differences in behavior and ecology, Amazonian fish vary extensively in form and size. The largest, the
arapaima The arapaima, pirarucu, or paiche is any large species of bonytongue in the genus ''Arapaima'' native to the Amazon and Essequibo basins of South America. Genus ''Arapaima'' is the type genus of the family Arapaimidae.Castello, L.; and Stewa ...

arapaima
and can reach or more in length and up to in weight, making them some of the largest strict freshwater fish in the world. The
bull shark The bull shark (''Carcharhinus leucas''), also known as the "Zambezi shark" (informally "zambi") in Africa, and "Lake Nicaragua shark" in Nicaragua Nicaragua (; ), officially the Republic of Nicaragua (), is the largest country in the Cen ...

bull shark
and common sawfish, which have been recorded far up the Amazon, may reach even greater sizes, but they are
euryhaline Euryhaline organisms are able to adapt to a wide range of salinities. An example of a euryhaline fish Fish are , , -bearing animals that lack with . Included in this definition are the living , s, and and as well as various extinct relat ...
and often seen in marine waters. In contrast to the giants, there are Amazonian fish from several families that are less than long. The smallest are likely the ''
Leptophilypnion ''Leptophilypnion'' is a genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also ref ...
'' sleeper gobies, which do not surpass and are among the
smallest fish The world's smallest fish depends on the measurement used. Based on minimum standard length at maturity the main contenders are ''Paedocypris progenetica'' where females can reach it at , About 2,500
fish Fish are aquatic Aquatic means relating to water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphere and the ...

fish
species are known from the Amazon basin and it is estimated that more than 1,000 additional
undescribed species In Taxonomy (biology), taxonomy, an undescribed taxon is a taxon (for example, a species) that has been discovered, but not yet formally described and named. The various Nomenclature Codes specify the requirements for a new taxon to be validly de ...
exist. This is more than any other river basin on Earth, and Amazonia is the center of diversity for Neotropical fishes. About 45% (more than 1,000 species) of the known Amazonian fish species are
endemic Endemism is the state of a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest gro ...
to the basin. The remarkable species richness can in part be explained by the large differences between the various parts of the Amazon basin, resulting in many fish species that are endemic to small regions. For example, fauna in clearwater rivers differs from fauna in
white White is the lightest color Color (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the Unite ...
and
blackwater river A blackwater river is a type of river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its co ...
s, fauna in slow moving sections show distinct differences compareBvavgf d to that in
rapids Rapids are sections of a river where the river bed has a relatively steep gradient In vector calculus, the gradient of a scalar-valued function, scalar-valued differentiable function of Function of several variables, several variables is the ...

rapids
, fauna in small streams differ from that in major rivers, and fauna in shallow sections show distinct differences compared to that in deep parts.Mendonça, F. P., W. E. Magnusson, J. Zuanon and C. M. Taylor. (2005) ''Relationships between habitat characteristics and fish assemblages in small streams of Central Amazonia.'' Copeia 2005(4): 751–764Duncan, W.P.; and Fernandes, M.N. (2010). ''Physicochemical characterization of the white, black, and clearwater rivers of the Amazon Basin and its implications on the distribution of freshwater stingrays (Chondrichthyes, Potamotrygonidae).'' PanamJAS 5(3): 454–464. By far the most diverse orders in the Amazon are
Characiformes Characiformes is an order of ray-finned fish, comprising the characins and their allies. Grouped in 18 recognized families, more than 2000 different species are described, including the well-known piranha and tetras.; Buckup P.A.: "Relationshi ...
(43% of total fish species in the Amazon) and
Siluriformes Catfish (or catfishes; order (biology), order Siluriformes or Nematognathi) are a diverse group of Actinopterygii, ray-finned fish. Named for their prominent barbel (anatomy), barbels, which resemble a cat's whiskers, catfish range in size an ...
(39%), but other groups with many species include
Cichlidae*Animal taxa named by Charles Lucien Bonaparte (1803−1857) — a 19th-century . Bonaparte, Charles Lucien French ornithologists French taxonomists 19th-century French zoologists Taxa by author, Bonaparte, Charles Lucien {{CatAutoTOC ...
(6%) and
Gymnotiformes The Gymnotiformes are a group of teleost bony fishes commonly known as the Neotropical or South American knifefish. They have long bodies and swim using undulations of their elongated anal fin. Found almost exclusively in fresh water (the on ...

Gymnotiformes
(3%). The Amazon supports very large fisheries, including well-known species of large catfish (such as ''
Brachyplatystoma ''Brachyplatystoma'' is a genus of catfish from the family Pimelodidae. As the occasionally used common name goliath catfishes indicates, this genus includes some of the largest species of catfish, including the piraíba, ''B. filamentosum'', whic ...
'', which perform long breeding migrations up the Amazon),
arapaima The arapaima, pirarucu, or paiche is any large species of bonytongue in the genus ''Arapaima'' native to the Amazon and Essequibo basins of South America. Genus ''Arapaima'' is the type genus of the family Arapaimidae.Castello, L.; and Stewa ...

arapaima
and tambaqui, and is also home to many species that are important in the aquarium trade, such as the
oscar Oscar, OSCAR, or The Oscar may refer to: People * Oscar (given name) Oscar or Oskar is a masculine given name of Irish origin. Etymology The name is derived from two elements in Irish: the first, ''os'', means "deer"; the second element, ' ...
, discus, , ''Corydoras'' catfish and
neon tetra The neon tetra (''Paracheirodon innesi'') is a Freshwater fish of the characin family (biology), family (family Characidae) of order (biology), order Characiformes. The type species of its genus, it is native to Blackwater river, blackwater and ...
. Although the true danger they represent often is greatly exaggerated, the Amazon basin is home to several feared fish species such as
piranha A piranha or piraña (, , or ; , ), a member of family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or affinity (by marriage or other relationship). The purpo ...

piranha
s (including the famous red-bellied),
electric eel ''Electrophorus'' is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), c ...

electric eel
, river stingrays and
candiru Candiru (''Vandellia cirrhosa''), also known as cañero, toothpick fish, or vampire fish, is a species of parasitic Parasitism is a Symbiosis, symbiotic biological interactions, relationship between species, where one organism, the paras ...

candiru
. Several
cavefish Cavefish or cave fish is a generic term for fresh and brackish water fish adapted to life in cave A cave or cavern is a natural void in the ground, specifically a space large enough for a human to enter. Caves often form by the weathering ...
species in the genus '' Phreatobius'' are found in the Amazon, as is the cave-dwelling '' Astroblepus pholeter'' in the far western part of the basin (Andean region). The Tocantins River, Tocantins basin, arguably not part of the Amazon basin, has several other cavefish species. The deeper part of the major Amazonian rivers are always dark and a few species have adaptions similar to cavefish (reduced pigment and eyes). Among these are the knifefish ''Compsaraia'' and ''Orthosternarchus'', some ''Cetopsis'' whale catfish (especially ''C. oliveirai''), some ''Xyliphius'' and ''Micromyzon'' banjo catfish, and the loricariid catfish ''Loricaria spinulifera'', ''L. pumila'', ''Peckoltia pankimpuju'', ''Panaque bathyphilus'' and ''Panaqolus nix'' (these five also occur in "normal" forms of shallower waters). The perhaps most unusual habitat used by Amazonian fish is land. The splash tetra is famous for laying its eggs on plants above water, keeping them moist by continuously splashing on them, the South American lungfish can survive underground in a mucous cocoon during the dry season, some small Rivulidae, rivulid killifish can jump over land between water sources (sometimes moving relatively long distances, even uphill) and may deliberately jump onto land to escape aquatic predators, and an
undescribed species In Taxonomy (biology), taxonomy, an undescribed taxon is a taxon (for example, a species) that has been discovered, but not yet formally described and named. The various Nomenclature Codes specify the requirements for a new taxon to be validly de ...
of worm-like ''Phreatobius'' catfish lives in waterlogged leaf litter near (not in) streams. Some of the major fish groups of the Amazon basin include: * Order
Gymnotiformes The Gymnotiformes are a group of teleost bony fishes commonly known as the Neotropical or South American knifefish. They have long bodies and swim using undulations of their elongated anal fin. Found almost exclusively in fresh water (the on ...

Gymnotiformes
: Neotropical electric fishes * Order
Characiformes Characiformes is an order of ray-finned fish, comprising the characins and their allies. Grouped in 18 recognized families, more than 2000 different species are described, including the well-known piranha and tetras.; Buckup P.A.: "Relationshi ...
: characins, tetras and relatives * Family Potamotrygonidae: river stingrays * Family Arapaimidae: bonytongues * Family Loricariidae: suckermouth catfishes * Family Callichthyidae: armored catfishes * Family Pimelodidae: pimelodid catfishes * Family Trichomycteridae: pencil catfishes * Family Auchenipteridae: driftwood catfishes * Subfamily Cichlinae: pike cichlids, peacock cichlids and relatives * Subfamily Geophaginae: Eartheaters and Neotropical dwarf cichlid * Subfamily Poeciliinae: guppies and relatives


Insects

More than 90% of the animal species in the Amazon are insects, of which about 40% are beetles (Coleoptera constituting almost 25% of all known types of animal life-forms.)#refPowell, Powell (2009) Whereas all of Europe has some 321 butterfly species, the Manú National Park in Peru (4000 hectare-survey) has 2300 species, while Tambopata National Reserve (5500 hectare-survey) has at least 1231 species.


Climate and seasons

The
Amazon River The Amazon River (, ; es, Río Amazonas, pt, Rio Amazonas) in South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a relatively small portion in the . It can also be described as the southern of a single con ...

Amazon River
basin has a low-water season, and a wet season during which, the rivers flood the adjacent, low-lying forests. The climate of the basin is Köppen climate classification, generally hot and humid. In some areas, however, the winter months (June–September) can bring cold snaps, fueled by Antarctic winds traveling along the adjacent mountain range. The average annual temperature is around 25-degree and 28 degree Celsius with no distinction between summer and winter seasons.


Human lifestyle

Amazonia is Population density, sparsely populated. There are scattered settlements inland, but most of the population lives in a few larger cities on the banks of the Amazon and other major rivers, such as in Iquitos - Department of Loreto, Loreto in
Peru , , image_flag = Flag_of_Peru.svg , image_coat = Escudo_nacional_del_Perú.svg , other_symbol = Great Seal of the State , other_symbol_type = Seal (device), National seal , national_mott ...

Peru
, Manaus-Amazonas (Brazilian state), Amazonas State, and Belém, Pará. In many regions, the forest has been cleared for soya bean plantations and ranching (the most extensive non-forest use of the land); some of the inhabitants harvest wild rubber latex, and Brazil nut, Brazilian nuts. This is a form of extractive farms, where the trees are not cut down. These are relatively sustainable operations in contrast to lumbering or agriculture dependent on clearing the rainforest. The people live in thatched houses shaped liked beehives. They also build apartment-like houses called "Maloca", with a steeply slanting roof.


Languages

The most widely spoken languages in the Amazon are Portuguese language, Portuguese and Spanish language, Spanish. On the
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 mill ...

Brazil
ian side, Portuguese is spoken by at least 98% of the population, whilst in the Spanish-speaking countries, a large number of speakers of indigenous languages are present, though Spanish is predominant. There are hundreds of First language, native languages still spoken in the Amazon, most of which are spoken by only a handful of people, and thus are critically endangered language, endangered.


Indigenous Peoples

For a list of the great number of indigenous peoples and cultures, still alive or already extinct, see Classification of indigenous peoples of the Americas and Indigenous peoples in Brazil. The largest organization fighting for the indigenous peoples in this area is Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin, COICA. It is a supra organization encompassing all indigenous rights organizations working in the Amazon basin area, and covers the people living in several countries.


River commerce

The river is the principal path of transportation for people and produce in the regions, with transport ranging from balsa rafts and dugout canoes to hand built wooden river craft and watercraft, modern steel hulled craft.


Agriculture

Seasonal floods excavate and redistribute nutrient-rich silt onto beaches and islands, enabling dry-season riverside agriculture of rice, beans, and corn on the river's shoreline without the addition of fertilizer, with additional slash and burn agriculture on higher floodplains. Fishing provides additional food year-round, and Pastured poultry, free-range chickens need little or no food beyond what they can forage locally. Charcoal made largely from forest and shoreline deadfall is produced for use in urban areas. Exploitation of bushmeat, particularly deer and turtles is common. Extensive deforestation, particularly in
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 mill ...

Brazil
, is leading to the extinction of known and unknown species, reducing Biodiversity, biological diversity and adversely impacting soil, water, and air quality. A final part of the deforestation process is the large-scale production of charcoal for industrial processes such as steel manufacturing. Soils within the region are generally shallow and cannot be used for more than a few seasons without the addition of imported fertilizers and chemicals.


Global Ecological Role, Function for Climate Change

"The Amazon is a critical absorber of carbon of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas produced by burning fossil fuels, like oil and coal. ... the Amazon's role is as a sink, draining heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Currently, the world is emitting around 40 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. The Amazon absorbs 2 billion tons of CO2 per year (or 5% of annual emissions), making it a vital part of preventing climate change." "Amazon biodiversity also plays a critical role as part of global systems, influencing the global carbon cycle and thus climate change, as well as hemispheric hydrological systems, serving as an important anchor for South American climate and rainfall."https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2019/05/22/why-the-amazons-biodiversity-is-critical-for-the-globe ; 2020 Jan. 12


See also

* Amazon biome * Amazon Conservation Association * Amazon Conservation Team * Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest * Jaguars south of the Amazon River * Llanos de Moxos * Llanos de Moxos (archaeology) * Panthera onca onca * Peruvian jaguar * Sustainable Bolivia * Ucayali Peneplain


References


Further reading

* * Acker, Antoine
"Amazon"
(2015). University Bielefeld – Center for InterAmerican Studies.


External links


Herndon and Gibbon Lieutenants United States Navy
The First North American Explorers of the Amazon Valley, by Historian Normand E. Klare. Actual Reports from the explorers are compared with present Amazon basin conditions.

by ''The Washington Post''
"The Course of the River of the Amazons, Based on the Account of Christopher d’Acugna"
from 1680 {{Authority control Amazon basin,