Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest Tours and Cruises
Fauna in the Amazon Rainforest
The Napo and Aguarico basins are marked within the Ecuadorian Neotropical Zoogeography as one of Ecuador´s, and the world’s, most important biodiversity locations. The zoogeographic district is known to protect some 200 mammal species, which represents 52% of all mammal species found in Ecuador. There are well over 550 bird species, 30% of all of Ecuador’s birds. In terms of fish species, these areas possess one of the most numerous groups at a global level with around 630 species (more than the entire Atlantic Ocean). Finally, over 200 reptile and amphibian species have been recorded in the region, which combining both animal classes results in a global biodiversity record as well. There is not enough information about the insects, but the number must range in the thousands.
Traditionally, Amazonia is considered to be a challenging area for wildlife observation due to the animals’ evasive behavior, camouflaging colors and their relatively low population densities. In addition, species in the rainforest are not distributed by areas, per se, but rather have a certain distribution according to time lapses such as food and breeding cycles, etc.).
Although the vegetation tangles of forest environments can hinder observation at large —as well as the fact that a good sum of the activity takes place many, many meters above ground in the sub-canopy and canopy— joint efforts among communities and ecotourism ventures have mustered their way to increasingly gain sight on the spectacular wildlife that roams within these unique environments. Observation towers and canopy walkways, observation blinds, canoe exploration, evening walks, working with local guides who know the forests inside and out and no-hunting policies within some of the more die-hard lodges, have proven this preconception to be misleading. Today, visiting Amazonia can offer many exciting encounters with different animals, from several species of monkeys, caiman, river turtles, toucans, macaws and parrots, the giant otter, the pink dolphin, the tapir, and our namesake, the fabulous Amazonian Manatee, which is actually very difficult to see due to the time it spends underwater, but rather a common animal.
Although fish may not appear to be an attractive sight, Amazonian species such as the gigantic Paiche Arapaima gigas, the seed predator Pacu Piaractus brachypomus and of course, the piranha, are some of the most incredible aquatic vertebrates in the animal kingdom. Frogs are also quite extraordinary, including the translucent glass frog (you can actually see their heart through their skin) and colorful poison arrow frogs steal the show. And then come the insects… which are just too many to mention… but we must mention some, of course, such as the spectacular harlequin beetle, the giant Conga ant, a number of bizarre grasshoppers and katydids, including conehead and rainbow katydids, numerous moths that can even either be more colorful than butterflies, and butterflies such as the glistening Morpho or the unique Owl Butterflies, tireless leafcutter ants, bizarre looking weevils, overwhelmingly strong rhinoceros beetles, and so much more…