The Amazon Rainforest…
…is perhaps one the most remarkable places on the planet. It is teeming with such a vast multitude of various life forms. Many of these different species remain undiscovered and are buried deep within the forest. This not-quite-half-full understanding the the world’s largest forests leaves the door open to explorers and animal scientists to really learn something new.
The Amazon is teeming with life. It is a birders paradise containing more species than any other ecosystem, and there are more than 4,000 species of butterflies. The lush forests of the [Amazon rainforest] basin are home to reptiles, amphibians, primates, tapirs, capybaras, even jaguars. The river itself contains freshwater dolphins, manatee and more than 2,000 species of fish which incidentally is more species than has been recorded for the entire Atlantic Ocean!
With all the various coexisting lifeforms in the amazon rainforest, evolution itself has evolved into an art. Species are forced to specialize and that has caused all sorts of gnarly adaptations. To display an example of this extreme evolution, one needs only to look at the candiru fish. This infamous creature:
… parasitizes the waste ducts of aquatic animals, and apparently finds human orifices irresistible.
Which, you know, is horribly terrifying.Related Article: Costly Climate Changes.
… Is Home to the Capybara
One of my favorite animals living in the Amazon rainforest is the capybara. It appears to be the result of genetically fusing a dog and a guinea pig and then mating its offspring with an otter. The spawn of that mythical creature would likely look similar to a capybara. Officially the worlds largest rodent–with the obvious exception of R.U.O.S.— the capybara roams in herds which range from 10-100 rodent- monsters in size.
In true Amazon rainforest fashion, capybaras are talented on both land and water and can hold their breath for five minutes if they need to escape predators. They are herbivores and extremely picky at that. You’ve got to be picky if you’re going to eat the same food more than once. Capybaras are coprophagous. This means that they eat their own waste in order to maintain a healthy amount of bacteria used for digestion. Yum.Related Article: Climate Changes Too Fast, Evolution Can’t Keep Up.
… Has Many Different Types of Electric Fish!
There Amazon rainforest is teeming with different aquatic life. Electric eels have held–or provided energy for– the spotlight for some time. Science has studied their ways and has made at least one attempt to inform the public that these “eels” are actually knife fish. These swimming knives with electric capabilities are able to put out about 600 volts. The Electrophorus is interesting and all but there’s some new fish in the stream.
Some folks from Cornell University recently discovered two new electric fish in the Amazon rainforest. Brachyhypopomus bennetti and Brachyhypopomus walteri The weird thing is that these fish are electric in different ways.
the most significant difference between the two is the type of electric signals they generate. Most electric fish, including B. walteri, produce electric signals with both a positive and negative phase: an alternating current signal. (See a picture of another species of electric knifefish.) But B. bennetti is different. Its electric signals are more like direct current in that they have one phase rather than two, according to the study, led by John Sullivan of Cornell University.
Unlike the voltage of their phoney-eel river mates, the Brachyhypopomus school puts out significantly lower levels of electricity. The B. benneti and B. walteri fish can be found most often in Amazonian Floating Meadows.
This only scratches the surface of the marvels that lurk, slither, and fly within the Amazon rainforest. For more information about the Amazon rainforest, please visit the WWF Amazon rainforest page.Related Article: Conservation Efforts of Earth’s Seven Continents
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