Aragualan River Dolphin

Araguaian river dolphin by Rio Cicica

Araguaian river dolphin

The Araguaian river dolphin or Araguaian boto  is a South American river dolphin population native to the Araguaia–Tocantins basin of Brazil.

The recognition of I. araguaiaensis as a distinct species is still debated. It was originally distinguished from the Amazon river dolphin in January 2014. On the basis of nuclear microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA data as well as differences in skull morphology (it generally has a wider skull). It also differs from the Amazon and Bolivian river dolphins in the number of teeth per hemimandible (24–28 versus 25–29 and 31–35, respectively).

River dolphins have a complex set of acoustic calls that help shed light on their personalities, behaviours and interaction with other river dolphins. In a study by Gabriel Melo-Santos et. Al they analysed frequency contours of 727 signals They found that these signals had a critical similarity value of 96% and frequency contours were categorized into 237 sound-types. Interestingly the most notable and frequent sounds were emitted when calves were present shedding light on a close and complex mother child relationship. The findings show that the acoustic sounds of river dolphins are incredibly complex and are similar to those of by social delphinids, such as orcas and pilot whales.

The total population of the species is estimated to be of the order of 600 to 1500 individuals, and genetic diversity is limited.[4] The ecology of its habitat has been adversely affected by agricultural, ranching and industrial activities, as well as by the use of dams for hydroelectric power. The inhabited section of the Araguaia River probably extends over about 1500 km out of a total length of 2110 km. The Tocantins River habitat is fragmented by six hydroelectric dams, so the population there is at particular risk.[4] The authors of the discovery paper regard its probable eventual IUCN status to be Vulnerable or worse.

The largest number of individuals of the new species is likely to occur in and around Cantão State Park, which contains most of the lakes in the Araguaia basin. However, commercial fishermen around the park have been killing them because they sometimes steal fish from nets. Shooting is common, but around protected areas like Cantão, where the sound of a gun might attract park rangers, some fishermen have taken to putting out poisoned bait for dolphins. The southernmost population of the species is a small group of isolated individuals in the Tocantins river above the Serra da Mesa dam.

Below you will find a list of any articles which mention this species specifically, below that is a video of this species in the wild. Below this, we will list any tourism opportunities (if any that we connect with).

Bolivian river Dolphin

Bolivian river dolphin by Ramon and Suzanne Vargas

Bolivian river-dolphin

Bolivian river dolphins were discovered by the Western world in 1832 by Alcide d’Orbigny. Initially considered a subspecies of the Amazon river dolphin, differences in body structure and the isolation of the Bolivian river dolphin meant it was reclassified as its own species in 2012. In a study conducted in 2015, it was also noted that any gene flow between I. geoffrensis (downstream) and I. boliviensis (upstream) would be a one way path flowing from upstream to downstream due to the Teotônio waterfall between them.

Even with gene flow, these populations would also remain morphologically different from each other due to the differences in the environment in which they live. Differences in seasonal water depth and speed would result in morphologically different species. However, for now, these populations are considered subspecies of the same species.

Research is hard to do, as the number of the species is low.

They are listed as endangered. Other threats include several dams, and while there are ways for river wildlife to navigate this, it requires moving through fast water, which this dolphin species does not do.

It is classified as endangered, though estimates of the current population size are hard to find.

Below is a video of this species, and below that is a list of any time it is mentioned on this site. Under this, we hope to add links that will allow you to see them in the wild.

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