The Brazilian Porcupine (Coendou prehensilis) or Porcupine is a spiny, arboreal, nocturnal creature and in the North Rupununi has been noted for having a preference for palm forests.
The Golden-handed Tamarin (Saguinus midas), also known as Midas Tamarin and Red-handed Tamarin can be seen along farm edges in the North Rupununi, but interestingly enough does not exist in the Iwokrama Rain Forest.
The Crab Eating Fox (Cerdocyonthous) or Savannah Fox is the only fox that exists in Guyana.
The Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) is tiny but aptly named and can be seen sitting and marking its territory in open savannah areas of the North Rupununi.
The Yellow Banded Poison Dart Frog (Dendrobates leucomelas) is the largest of the Dendrobatid frogs and has been seen in the Burro Burro river of Surama and the Clarence Mountain Trail in Aranaputa.
The Red-fan Parrot (Deroptyus accipitrinus) is also known as the Hawk-headed Parrot and it can be seen in the Iwokrama River Lodge when fruiting trees are bearing.
The Ocelot (Leoparduspardalis) is an often-seen, spotted, midsized cat, weighing up to 11 kg.
With golden eyes and a tawny, golden colour the Puma (Puma concolor), is a long legged, rangy cat which ranges from North America to the tip of South America and exists at elevations up to 4,500 m, hence the name “mountain lion.” Also known as the Florida Panther or Deer Tiger, it is white on the underside from the muzzle to the belly.
The Common Iguana (Iguana iguana) or ‘Guana,’ is a large green lizard that grows up to 1.8 m, with a cylindrical body and a high spiky crest of scales running the length of the spine.
Rain forests are rich in biodiversity and are home to many different plants and animals as well as indigenous communities.
Peacock Bass (Cichla ocellaris), Butterfly Peacock Bass, Waterwolf, or Lukanani is actually a cichlid, not a member of the bass family.
The Iwokrama Forest and Rupununi Wetlands are home to healthy populations of Guyana’s Giants.
Purpleheart (Peltogyne venosa) belongs to the family of Caesalpiniaceae. The species is found growing in sandy plains and terraces and it is distributed throughout Central and South America from Mexico down to southern Brazil; in other parts of the world it is referred to as Amaranth and Violetwood.
Four species of caiman exist in Guyana: the Black Caiman, Spectacled Caiman and two species of dwarf caiman.
Savannahs are grassland ecosystems that are characterised by small trees or trees that are widely spaced so as not create a closed canopy.
T he Wattled Jacana (Jacana jacana) is a common wetland bird that ranges from Panama and Trinidad and down into most of South America.
The Variegated Tinamou (Crypturellus variegates) species was first identified from a specimen collected in French Guiana and is the larger cousin to the Little Tinamou.
The Grey-winged Trumpeter (Psophia crepitans) is distributed north of the Amazon River, in Ecuador, Colombia, south Venezuela, north-east Brazil, north-eastern Peru and the Guianas.
The Giant Gladiator Frog (Hypsiboas boans) belongs to the family of tree frogs (Hylidae).
The Red Brocket Deer (Mazama Americana) is a species of brocket deer that can be found in the forests of South America ranging from northern Argentina to Colombia and the Guianas.
The Red-rumped Agouti (Dasyprocta leporine) is locally known as the Akuri in Guyana.
T he Suriname Toad (Pipa pipa) could be one of the strangest frogs you might see in the rainforest; in fact it’s not a toad but an aquatic dwelling frog.
Wetlands are areas that hold water, either seasonally or permanently; they have been titled the kidneys of the landscape and biological supermarket because of the functions they perform in the hydrological and chemical cycles and the extensive food web and rich biodiversity they support.
The Cattleya Orchid (Cattleya spp.) occurs naturally throughout Central and South America and belongs to the largest plant family in the world, Orchidaceae.
“Red on black is a friend of Jack, red on yellow kills a fellow”!
Piranhas belong to the family Characidae and are related to herbivorous species like the Pacu.
It’s 4 am in the rainforest and you are awakened by the sound of loud eerie roaring; if you are new to the environment it can be a disconcerting sound.
The Giant Water Lily (Victoria amazonica) is a flowering plant and the largest of the Nymphaeaceae family of water lilies in the world.
Ite (Mauritiaflexuosa) also known as Morichi, belongs to the plant family which includes all palms (Arecaceae).
Kufa (Clusiaspp) is a plant which is widely distributed in the tropical rainforests of Guyana and belongs to the family of plants known as Clusiaceae.
Locust (Hymenaea courbaril) or ‘Stinking Toe’, grows on both clay and sandy soils and can be found along rivers in mixed Mora forests and marsh forests.
In Guyana there are eight snake families. The main families are the pit vipers, the elapides (coral snakes), the colubrids (largely non-venomous snakes) and the boids.
Frogs are amphibians; they have moist, scaleless skin and are exothermic animals. This means that their body temperature depends on the temperature of their environment.
Rain forests are rich in biodiversity and are home to many different plants and animals.
Kinkajous (Potos Flavus), also known as Night Monkeys or Honey Bears, and Olingos (genus Bassaricyon) are both members of the Racoon family.
It’s more than six feet long with a great bushy tail, long snout, and big claws on its front feet.
Guyana is home to four species of Caiman including the Spectacled Caiman, Black Caiman and two species of Dwarf Caiman; they are classified in the subfamily Alligatoridae and are often mistaken for alligators.
There are over 1,100 species of bats worldwide, with at least 121 species found in Guyana and 86 found within the Iwokrama forest.
The King Vulture, Sarcoramphus papa or Kasana as it known locally by the Makushi people, is the largest bird of the New World Vulture family, Cathartidae, with a length of 67 to 81 cm and a wingspan of 1.2 to 2 m and is distributed throughout
The Black Curassow (Crax alector), or Powis, as they are locally called in Guyana, are found in humid forested areas in the Guianas, northern Amazon, southern Venezuela and parts of Colombia, and are part of the family of
Vampire bats, creatures of many myths and legends, are blood-feeding, flying mammals found throughout Central and South America.
The Jaguar (Panthera onca) is the largest cat in the Americas and ranges from the south western US to Argentina.
Pandion Haliaetus, more commonly known as the Osprey or Fish Hawk, or locally known as ‘Tanuwaka,’ can be found in forested areas near bodies of water.
Giant River Turtles (Podocnemis expansa) are found in the Guianas, Venezuela and the Amazon as well as in rivers,
The Jabiru Stork (Jabiru mycteria) is the tallest (122-40 cm) flying bird in South and Central America and belongs to the stork family, Ciconiidae.
This is the first in a series of articles about the various species of fauna and flora which abound in Guyana’s rain forest and the Rupununi Savannahs.