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River dolphin

Flying alongside river dolphin

River Dolphin
Background information
Taxonomy Mammal
Status Data deficient
Range Amazon River
Habitat Freshwater river
Feathers, fur Skin ranging from light gray to carnation pink


The Amazonian River Dolphin (Inia geoffrensis) is a freshwater river dolphin found in the Orinoco, Amazon and Araguaia/Tocantins River systems of Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela. It was once listed as 'vulnerable' due to pollution, overfishing, boat traffic and habitat loss but in 2011 it was changed to 'data deficient' due to a lack of current information about threats, ecology, and population numbers and trends.

Description

Amazon River Dolphins can grow larger then humans; they are the largest known freshwater cetacean. Females are usually larger then males; the largest female Amazon river dolphins can range up to 2.5 m (8.2 ft) in length and weigh 98.5 kg (217 lb). The largest male dolphins can range up to 2.0 m (6.6 ft) in length and weigh 94 kg (207 lbs)

They can turn their heads 90 degrees due to their un-fused neck vertebrate. Their flexibility is important in navigating through the flooded forests, as rainforest debris can make moving through water difficult. Also, they possess long 'beaks' or 'snouts', which contain 24 to 34 conical and molar-type teeth on each side of the jaws.

Diet

River Dolphins use their snouts to sift through the silt and sand on the bottom of their river habitat, finding crustaceans and small water animals. They also feed on fish, including Pirahna

Behavior

River dolphins, like their ocean cousins, travel and live in 'pods', with other River dolphins. They are social creatures, and find safety in numbers. River dolphins can swim upside down, so they can see prey and danger above them.

Subspecies

There are three subspecies of Amazonian River Dolphins; the Bolivian River Dolphin, typically found in Bolivia, and the Amazon River Dolphin, mostly found in Brazil. On the 22nd of January, 2014, a new species, the Araguaian River dolphin, was discovered. The population of this new species has been estimated to be 600 to 1500 individuals.

Gallery

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