Araguaian River Dolphin Facts
- The truly remarkable Araguaian River Dolphin represents a newly discovered species of river dolphin. The cetacean therefore became the first newly recognized variety in nearly 100 years.
- This truly fascinating species of mammal only received recognition as a separate species from the Amazon River Dolphin in 2014. This makes it one of the few known such creatures on earth.
- This also made the magnificent creature the first new species of river dolphin recognized since 1918. Currently, science knows of only seven such species in the entire world.
- Like all known species of river dolphin, many individuals consider this beautiful creature highly threatened. However, it does not yet have an official classification with the IUCN.
- Unfortunately, destruction of its native habitat continues at a rather prodigious rate, with no apparent end in sight.
Araguaian River Dolphin Physical Description
Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the Araguaian River Dolphin is its rather distinctive coloring. The color varies between individuals, yet it primarily ranges from gray to bright pink.
The body length may be as great as 8.5 ft (2.6 m). The neck vertebrae of this dolphin remain uniquely un-fused. As a result, individuals possess the ability to turn their heads to extreme angles.
The eyes develop smaller than any other species of river dolphin yet the snout grows longer. As a result of having such small eyes, its vision remains rather poor.
Like all known related species, this amazing creature also uses echolocation to hunt for its prey.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Artiodactyla
- Family: Iniidae
- Genus: Inia
- Species: I. araguaiaensis
Araguaian River Dolphin Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The rather remarkable Araguaian River Dolphin appears to be endemic to a restricted region of Brazil, in South America. The creature has also, so far been found only within the Araguaia-Tocantins basin.
In addition, estimates of the number of remaining individuals vary greatly, yet ranges between 600-1,500. This also implies an extremely limited genetic diversity.
The creature, like other related species, also preys on a wide variety of small fish species that share its highly limited habitat range.
The ecology of its habitat has been negatively affected by agricultural, ranching and industrial activities, and also by the use of dams for hydroelectric power.