10 of the Most Unusual Amazonian Species

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This fearsome insect is bigger and meaner than your regular picnic intruder. Up to 1.2 inches long and jet black, these ants get their name because their bite supposedly hurts as much as a bullet wound. In some areas, locals refer to them as hormiga veinticuatro, or 24-hour ant, for the amount of time the excruciating pain will last.

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10 of the Most Unusual Amazonian Species

  1. 1. 10 of the Most Unusual Amazonian Species Posted by Willa Ahlschwede - Guest Blogger on 27th, October 2012 10 of the Most Unusual Amazonian Species The Amazon rainforest is maybe the most famous ecosystem in the world. It covers 1.4 billion acres of South America and represents over half of all the tropical rainforest left on Earth. One tenth of all living species call the Amazon home which makes it the most biodiverse region in the world. The dense jungle is accessible to visitors in many countries including Peru, Brazil and Colombia and even a brief visit may yield an unforgettable encounter. Here are ten unusual species very lucky travelers may see when they visit the region. Capybara This chubby, sweet-faced mammal is the size of a small dog and is most often found keeping cool on riverbanks or taking a swim in the water. The capybara is the largest rodent in the world and often hangs out in groups, grazing and relaxing. Animals of the Amazon | Animals in the Amazon Forest South American Holidays Cinchona Long used by native people for a variety of medicinal purposes, the cinchona tree became famous around the world when Spanish Jesuit missionaries learned of it's anti-malarial properties and began exporting it to Europe. Quinine, the active compound, became indispensable for Europeans building empires in malarial climates and, infused in a tincture, was the predecessor to modern tonic water. Leaf Cutter Ants These insects live in large colonies and gather bits of plants and leaves which they don't consume but instead use to
  2. 2. cultivate a nutritious fungus on the decomposing vegetation. It is fairly common to witness parades of ants traveling long distances, up and down trees and across trails, each insect carrying a bright scrap of leaf. Volunteering In Peru Andean Cock of the Rock This stunning and exceedingly rare creature is the national bird of Peru. Known for distinctive red and black plummage, the feathers on it's head sweep forward in a pompadour so large the beak is almost completely hidden. Sloth The sloth may be fairly well-known but they are rarely seen due to their remarkable camouflage. In the humidity of the forest, algae growing on their fur helps them blend even more with their green surroundings. The aptly-named, slow- moving mammal spends most of it's life in the treetops and travels to the forest floor as little as once a week. Giant River Otter The largest member of the weasel family, these playful otters range from 3 to 5.5 feet in length. Notoriously shy, you may hear them hunting and swimming in gregarious family groups in the early morning or later afternoon on the quiet oxbow lakes of the Amazon region. Destinations In Argentina
  3. 3. The Triplaria tree and Pseudomyrmex ants These are two species which go by many different local names and have formed a unique symbiotic relationship. Sometimes called the ant tree or novice tree in Spanish or Portuguese, these trees are inhabited and fiercely protected by colonies of venomous ants who feed harmlessly on substances the tree produces. Traveling up and down the trunk and the surrounding forest floor, the ants will swarm and mercilessly bite any insect, animal or even human which touches the tree. There are old stories of wrongdoers being tied to the trees as punishment. Bullet Ant This fearsome insect is bigger and meaner than your regular picnic intruder. Up to 1.2 inches long and jet black, these ants get their name because their bite supposedly hurts as much as a bullet wound. In some areas, locals refer to them as hormiga veinticuatro, or 24-hour ant, for the amount of time the excruciating pain will last. Animals of the Amazon | Animals in the Amazon Forest Uruguay Vacation Harpy Eagle Another rare bird, the harpy eagle is a striking black, white and gray raptor with an imposing beak and long talons. Named for a mythological Roman beast, these birds have a distinctive double crest and collar of feathers which it can ruffle majestically. You can witness some of these species and many, many more during a South America Adventure.

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