Amazing Discoveries in the Amazon

Between 1999 and 2009, more than 1,200 new species of plants and vertebrates were discovered in the Amazon biome – or one new species every three days – confirming the Amazon as one of the most diverse places on Earth
Check out some of the amazing species that scientists have catalogued in recent years.


 

Among some of the fabulous findings are:
The first new anaconda species identified since 1936. Described in 2002 from Bolivia’s north-eastern Amazon province, and then found also in the floodplains of Bolivia’s Pando province, the 4 meter long Eunectes beniensis was initially believed to be the result of hybridization between green and yellow anacondas, but was later determined to be a distinct species.

One of the most extraordinary species, the Ranitomeya amazonica, a frog with an incredible burst of flames on its head, and contrasting water-patterned legs. The frog’s main habitat is near the Iquitos area in the region of Loreto, Peru, and is primary lowland moist forest. The frog has also been encountered in the Alpahuayo Mishana National Reserve in Peru.

A member of the true parrot family, the Pyrilia aurantiocephala has an extraordinary bald head, and displays an astonishing spectrum of colors. Known only from a few localities in the Lower Madeira and Upper Tapajos rivers in Brazil, the species has been listed as ‘near threatened’, due to its moderately small population, which is declining owing to habitat loss.

The Amazon River dolphin or pink river dolphin was recorded by science in the 1830s, and given the scientific name of Inia geoffrensis. In 2006, scientific evidence showed that there is a separate species of the Amazon river dolph – Inia boliviensis – of the dolphin in Bolivia, although some scientists consider it a subspecies of Inia geoffrensis. In contrast to the Amazon River dolphins, their Bolivian relatives have more teeth, smaller heads, and smaller but wider and rounder bodies.

A blind and tiny, bright red new species of catfish that lives mainly in subterranean waters. Found in the state of Rondonia, Brazil, the fish Phreatobius dracunculus began to appear after a well was dug in the village of Rio Pardo, when they were accidentally trapped in buckets used to extract water. The species has since been found in another 12 of 20 wells in the region.

Did you know...

The Amazon region comprises the largest rainforest and river system on Earth. It consists of over 600 different types of terrestrial and freshwater habitats, from swamps to grasslands to montane and lowland forests, and it houses an incredible 10% of the world’s known species, including endemic and endangered flora and fauna.

Learn more about the Amazon

Our work in the Amazon

40 + years of conservation experience
For more than 40 years, WWF has been at the forefront in protecting the Amazon. Building on this experience, WWF is working with goverments, local communities and others to ensure conservation and sustainable development throughout the world's largest rainforest and river system.

This work is being achieved through:

  • Promoting the responsible use of natural resources and sustainable management
  • Ensuring environmental and social standards for infrastructure development, particularly road and dam projects
  • Developing national programmes for reducing emissions from deforestation
  • Consolidating and expanding protected areas

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