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Amazing Discoveries in the Amazon: New Species Found Every 3 Days

The Amazon Rainforest and its Biodiversity is important for species and the survival of the planet.

It not only houses the most outstanding diversity of life on Earth with 1 out of every 10 known species living in the Amazon, but also store 90-140 billion tons of carbon. Releasing even a portion of this through further forest loss and land use change, would accelerate global warming significantly compromising life on Earth as we know it.

A new species of plant or animal was discovered in the Amazon rainforest on an average every three days between 1999 and 2009, when more than 1,200 new species of plants and vertebrates were discovered in the Amazon biome. Other Species where thought to be distinct and were rediscovered like our Aji Charapita Pepper.

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 – 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.

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