Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

Hundreds of new species discovered in the Amazon

  • Written by  Lottie Watters
  • Published in Wildlife
Hundreds of new species discovered in the Amazon WWF
05 Sep
2017
Over a two-year period, a new species of plant or animal was identified every other day

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), research carried out between 2014-2015 has revealed 381 new species of plants and animals discovered in the Amazon. In the third of a series of reports conducted since 1999, researchers have seen a significant total of 2,000 new species discovered. Even so, Sarah Hutchison, WWF’s Head of Programmes for Brazil and the Amazon, said in a statement, ‘We are only at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to unveiling the incredible species that live in the Amazon.’

The species uncovered ranged from plants to fish, reptiles and mammals. They included a new species of pink river dolphin, the aptly-named Fire-Tailed Titi monkey (so called because of its long, orange tail), and a bright yellow ‘blind’ snake that likes to bury itself in soil or under rocks. The majority of the species discovered were 216 new plants, but there were also 93 fish, 32 amphibians, 20 mammals (of which two are fossils), 19 reptiles and one bird – the Chico’s Tyrannulet, discovered after its unknown call attracted attention.

The new species of bird discovered in the Amazon because of its unknown callThe new species of bird discovered in the Amazon because of its unknown call (Image: WWF)

The report estimates there are 1,000 individuals of the newly-found dolphin bringing the number of different subspecies of pink river dolphins known to inhabit the Amazon rivers to four. There are many myths and legends surrounding the dolphins among Amazonian residents, some of which have helped to prevent people killing them, contributing to their stability and longevity. However, in 2011 they were listed by the IUCN as being a ‘threatened species’ and are under increasing danger from the expanding mining industry in the region which contaminates its rivers with mercury, as well as from the construction of hydroelectric dams.

New subspecies of Pink River Dolphins discovered. It is believed there are a thousand of these individualsNew subspecies of Pink River Dolphins discovered. It is believed there are a thousand of these individuals (Image: WWF)

Despite the exciting new discoveries, researchers warn that the species were all found in areas under threat from human activity and it is feared that many more species will become extinct before they are even discovered. Brazilian President, Michel Temer, recently granted permission for gold and other commercial mining to begin in the Renca National Reserve, a vast protected area the size of Switzerland to the north of the country, abolishing its protected status in the process. Though a court has since suspended the government's decision, the Attorney General’s Office has said it will appeal the decision and the government seems determined to go ahead.

geo line break v3

Free eBooks - Geographical Newsletter

Get the best of Geographical delivered straight to your inbox by signing up to our weekly newsletter and get a free collection of eBooks!

geo line break v3

Related items

Subscribe and Save!

geo line break v3

Free eBooks - Geographical Newsletter

Sign up for our weekly newsletter today and get a FREE eBook collection!

geo line break v3

University of Winchester

geo line break v3

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Derby

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in NATURE...

Geophoto

The prestigious photography awards to go on display in some…

Tectonics

The discovery of a slow-motion earthquake near Istanbul, which took…

Oceans

The 2014 to 2016 marine heatwave, which took place off…

Climate

Marco Magrini discovers that hydrogen is back, but hopefully not…

Wildlife

 A ten-year analysis of chimpanzees has revealed that the presence…

Wildlife

The return of the pine marten to UK forests has…

Energy

A project in Orkney is converting excess wind energy into…

Geophoto

Mountains provide a dramatic sight at the best of times,…

Wildlife

A surge in reports of dead hares has resulted in…

Oceans

Four scientists have banded together to make the case against the farming of octopuses, arguing…

Climate

As planetary oil consumption hits the 100-million-barrel mark Marco Magrini…

Oceans

A ship that ran aground early in February has been…

Wildlife

Two whale populations on either side of the African continent…

Geophoto

March traditionally heralds the beginning of spring, a time of…

Wildlife

An innovative project to utilise Laos’ elephant experts in service…

Polar

Despite common belief that Antarctica is vastly uninhabited, humans are…

Wildlife

Javan rhinos survived the recent Krakatoa tsunami, but the species…

Energy

As the world turns away from fossil fuels, one question…

Geophoto

The winners of the Outdoor Photographer of the Year 2018…

Climate

New legislation in Florida aims to solve various environmental issues,…