New river dolphin and fish species discovered in Amazon

Photo: Gabriel Melo Santos
Photo: Gabriel Melo Santos – Inia araguaiaensis is a newly discovered species of pink river dolphin. The pink river dolphin plays an important role in the popular imagination and culture of the Amazon.

A new Mamirauá Institute for Sustainable Development report reveals that between 2014 and 2015, a new plant or animal species was discovered in the Amazon every two days – the fastest rate this century.

The report, New Species of Vertebrates and Plants in the Amazon 2014-2015, details 381 new species that were discovered over 24 months, including 93 fish and 20 mammals, including a new species of pink river dolphin.

Spanning eight countries, the Amazon region is home to one in 10 known terrestrial species on Earth, half of the planet’s remaining tropical rain forests, and 4,100 miles of winding rivers. Its diversity and size mean there is still much to be learned there.

Counting the total number of species in a region is critical for scientists to have a baseline to monitor current and future biodiversity losses. Discovering new species is important for environmental and natural resource management, too, and can guide the establishment of protected areas to safeguard wildlife and the communities that depend on these resources.

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