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The Amazon Rainforests - Crown Jewel of the Natural World

© WWF-Canon /  Homo ambiens / R.Isotti-A.Cambone

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Flock of yellow butterflies (Pieridae sp.) feeding on a river shore of Rio Jauaperí. Reserva Ecolôgica do Xixuaú - Xiparinã, Amazonia, Brazil

The Amazon abounds with wildlife.

As of 2005, at least 427 mammals, 1,294 birds, 378 reptiles, 427 amphibians, and at least 3,000 fishes have been scientifically classified in the region.

But smaller life forms win hands down in terms of their numbers: just in Brazil, between 96,660 and 128,840 invertebrate species have been described by scientists.

Some scientists estimate that 30% of the animal biomass of the Amazon Basin is made up of ants. Ants can easily outweigh in mass all other vertebrates in a parcel of lowland rainforest. In fact, just the total arthropod species richness of the tropical forest canopy may be as high as 20 million.

A South American civilization once believed that butterflies were a supernatural phenomenon. They thought the butterflies were angels because their wings folded up to resemble praying hands. Each butterfly was worshipped differently based on the colours of its wings.

(Source: Butterflies of the Amazon, Samford University)

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