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Tropical & Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forest

This is the technical term for the tropical rainforest or 'jungle'. The rainforests of tropical South and Central America are the most species diverse ecosystems in the world.

Map of Neotropical Moist Forest (Public Domain,
(Waychega Lodge, Peru)

A view from the cloud forest looking down into the rainforest of the mountains and valleys, on the Manu road from the top of the Andes down to the Amazon river.

(Image by Damon Ramsey)(Waychega Lodge, Peru)

The higher altitude rainforest has a lot of lichens and moss covering the trees.

For the page on the plants of the tropical American rainforest

Phylum Annelida: Worms

Class Clitellata/Oligochaeta 'Earth Worms'

Martiodrilus (?) crassus, 'Giant Earthworm'.  Up to 1.5 metres long. Like many worms, they come out onto the soil surface when conditions are wet.

Phylum Arthropoda

Subphylum Myriapoda: Millipedes & Centipedes

Centipedes and millipedes are long with many legs. The main difference between the two groups is that centipedes appear to have one leg per segment (on either side), while millipedes appear to have two. Centipedes are usually fast movers, and often predate on other invertebrates, while millipedes are generally slower, and feed on decaying vegetation. The former can have painful bites, while the latter have chemical defences. Millipedes tend to roll into a defensive ball when touched; centipedes shouldn't be approached, closely touched, or insulted! 

Family Scutigeridae: 'House/Cave Centipedes'

(Tandayapa Lodge, Ecuador)

The Scutigerid centipedes are startling to us humans, scuttling along very quickly with their long legs. They often live in caves, and thus are pre-adapted to living in houses with humans, as well as drains and pipes.

Class Diplopoda: Millipedes

Order Polydesmida: 'Flat-backed Millipedes'

This is is the largest order of millipedes, with over 3,5000 species.

(Tandayapa, Ecuador)

These millipedes are called 'flat-backs' because they often have 'wings' that extend out from each body section. This group also includes all the millipedes that are known to exude hydrogen cyanide as a defence. To warn predators of this defence, these millipedes are often more colourful reds and oranges. These brighter colours combined with keeled shape, mean some people mistake them for centipedes. 

For the page on: 
spiders & other arachnids of tropical American rainforest

For the page on the insects of the tropical American rainforest

(Grasshopper, Yarina, Ecuador)

For the page on the moths of the tropical American rainforest

For the page on the butterflies of the tropical American rainforest

Diaethria, 'Eighty-eight Butterfly’ (Manu road, Peru).

For the page on the amphibians of the tropical American rainforest

Frog, Amazon, by Damon Ramsey(Brazil)

Order Squamata: Lizards & Snakes

Yarina Lodge, Ecuador

Suborder Iguania

Family Dactyloidae: Anole Lizards

Family Tropiduridae: Neoptropical Ground Lizards

Yarina Lodge, Ecuador

Plica sp. 'Racerunner Lizard'. Colours described as 'mint chocolate chip' to blend in with lichens and mosses on tree trunks that they run up and down. They are reported to even sleep clinging vertically onto the tree trunk. 

Family Boidae

Eunectes spp., 'Anacondas'

Anacondas include some of the biggest snakes in the world. Female anacondas are larger than males. They release pheromones during the breeding season to attract males; this can result in 'breeding balls', where up to a dozen males have been observed trying to copulate with a single female. The males try to stimulate the female's cloaca with their pelvic spurs to allow mating. The males have to have some patience, as the breeding balls have been recorded to last up to two weeks.

(Manaus Zoo, Brazil)

Eunectes murinus'Green Anaconda'. The largest of the anacondas. This is the heaviest snake in the world. They are found around freshwater habitats in across tropical South America east of the Andes.

Family Colubidae: 'Rear-fanged Snakes'

I've got my eyes on you! (Yarina, Amazon, Ecuador)

Imantodes cenchoa, 'Blunthead Tree Snake'. With such large eyes and their vertical pupil slits, these snakes reportedly have great vision. Apparently, their eyes make up some 25% of their head! This snake was hanging out of tree when I was canoeing in the backwaters of the Amazon at night. They are found in lower trees in rainforest throughout South & Central America.

Order Crocodilia

(Manaus Zoo, Brazil)

Melanosuchus niger, 'Black Caiman'. The largest of the Caimans, growing up to 5 metres; thus it is considered to be the apex predator in lowland Amazonian rainforest.

For the page on the 
ducks, guans, & pigeons of the tropical American rainforest

For the page on the trogons, toucans, parrots & woodpeckers of the tropical American rainforest

For the page on the 
hummingbirds of the tropical American rainforest

Hummingbird (image by Damon Ramsey)Hummingbird (Wildsumaco Lodge, Ecuador)

For the page on the 
passerine songbirds of the tropical American rainforest

For the page on the 
tanagers of the tropical American rainforest

For the page on the mammals of the tropical American rainforest

Places to experience the tropical American rainforest

There are so many great places (and lodges) to explore the rainforest in the tropical Americas...

In Peru there is: Amazonia LodgeCock of the Rock LodgeMachu PicchuManu National Park & Biosphere Reserve, Manu Paradise Lodge, Villa Carmen Lodge, and Wayqecha Lodge in the cloud forest,  

In Ecuador: Angel Paz bird reserve, Refugio Paz de Las Aves and Tandayapa Bird Lodge in the western Andes cloud forest, Yarina Lodge in the Amazon, and Wildsumaco Lodge.

In Colombia: Amacayacu National Park in the Amazon.

And in the biggest country in South America, Brazil, there is: Antonios Jungle Lodge in the Amazon, and scenic Iguazu Falls.

Throughout the virus I am working in Australia on and off as local borders close, mostly in the Kimberley with Coral Expeditions (May-September). If you can't go travelling until everything settles down, then until then, here I am doing online guided walks for Noble Caledonia and online lectures for Silversea.