Record Details

Pearson, D. L.
Preliminary floral and faunal survey, Tambopata Reserved Zone, Madre de Dios, Peru
Unpublished report for Peruvian Safaris
Reserva Nacional Tambopata Parque Nacional Bahuaja-Sonene animals invertebrates arthropods arachnida spiders vegetation plants trees diversity insects beetles tiger beetles Coleoptera Cicindelidae Odonata dragonflies flies Diptera Asilidae Lepidoptera butterflies moths amphibians reptiles birds mammals Madre de Dios Bibliography
During three weeks of evaluation in the field in November 1979, a small group of Peruvian and foreign scientists made a preliminary inventory of the flora and fauna of TRZ. Dr. Gary S. Hartshorn (Tropical Science Center, Costa Rica), led the vegetation survey. The TRZ is almost entirely covered by unaltered forest. The forest vegetation ranges from impressively tall trees down to the various types of low, stunted vegetation which develops under scattered emergent trees. The survey of invertebrates was coordinated by Dr. David L. Pearson (Pennsylvania State University, USA). In general, little is known of the invertebrate fauna of the TRZ. However, certain groups have been well studied. Ann L. Rypstra reports that less than half of the species of spider found in the lower strata of the forest can be identified at species level. However, she estimates that about 44 species belonging to 33 different families have been found in areas of 15 m-2. Ronald L. Huber has identified 20 species of tiger beetle (Coleoptera: Cicindelidae) collected in the TRZ. Nine of them are found in the forest and 11 around the river. So far, only Borneo (Indonesia) is known to be as rich in species of beetles as Tambopata (Pearson, previous survey). Drs. John Heppner and David L. Pearson added 15 species to the list of Odonata previously known in the TRZ (Dr. Dennis R. Paulson and colleagues: 88 species belonging to 11 families). The total number: 103 species (10% recently identified) is a world record for any locality of comparable area. Eric M. Fisher identified 21 species of Asilidae flies (Diptera), 12 of them probably not described. Drs. John B. Heppner and Gerardo Lamas collected moths and butterflies (Lepidoptera), but the identification and counting of species will take some time. Basing himself on these preliminary collections, Heppner has estimated that there must be a total of 20,000 species of Lepidoptera in the TRZ. Knowledge of reptiles and amphibians in the ZRT is still relatively limited. The inventory directed by Dr. Roy McDiarmid (National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, Washington, D.C., USA) revealed the existence of 80 species of reptiles and amphibians (many of them new to science), including three species of tortoise (Chelidae), three caymans (Crocodylidae), 14 lizards, one amphisbaenid, 16 snakes and 43 toads and frogs (Anura). It is estimated that the total number of reptile and amphibian species present may reach 200. The black cayman (Melanosuchus niger), currently in danger of extinction, is well represented in the TRZ. The birdlife of the TRZ is extremely rich in species and in unusual forms. The total list of species recorded under the direction of Theodore A. Parker (Louisiana State University, USA) includes 509 species and constitutes the largest inventory of birds recorded in any locality in the world. This exceptional diversity is in part due to the presence of species characteristic of three different systems within the Amazon basin: the high forest of the eastern slopes of the Andes; the basin of the river Ucayali and the upper Amazon; and the basin of the river Madre de Dios and the Madeira. The unusual abundance and diversity of parrots (18 species, including six macaws, Ara spp.), and toucans (eight species) indicates that the disturbance of bird life by human activities has been minimal (except for some cracids, particularly Mitu mitu); even Harpia harpyja is still found in this locality. The organization of the inventory on mammals was in the hands of Dr. Louise H. Emmons (Smithsonian Institution, USA). Most of the species found in the TRZ have a wide distribution in western Amazonia. Some, such as Dasyprocta variegata yungarum and Marmosa cinerea cf. rapposa, are characteristic of the southern drier part of Amazonia. Another unusual species is Speothos venaticus, which has been observed several times in the vicinity of the lodge; other noteworthy species are the giant river otter Pteronura brasiliensis and Tapirus terrestris, four species of Felidae and nine species of primates.