Volume & Issue
Country / Region
Amazon river dolphin
Fisheries management, Species knowledge and understanding
Bait fishing and traditional medicine
The Enchanted Boto
In the expansive rivers, floodplains, channels, and lakes of the Amazon basin, swims an aquatic mammal unlike any other, a creature renowned through the region for its unique ecological and cultural roles. Having spent 30 million years in the Amazon, the Amazon River dolphin (Inia geoffrensis), also known as “boto,” has evolved multiple morphological characteristics that set it apart from its marine counterparts.
With an unfused vertebra that allows its neck to bend at a 90-degree angle, an elongated snout that facilitates foraging in submerged tree branches, and molars that crush riverine turtles and crabs, the boto is a highly efficient predator in Amazonian aquatic habitats (Figure 1). Even the seasonally flooded forests of the basin provide suitable habitat for this robust but flexible animal, which can easily maneuver its way between trees in search of prey (Figure 2)…