Introducing the Site

Amazonian Fishes and their Habitats is based on a multimedia CD collection written by Dr Peter Henderson, of Pisces Conservation and the University of Oxford. Dr Henderson is one of the leading authorities on the fish of the Amazon Basin. These pages hold a small fraction of the superb resource of information on the CD, which is available from Pisces Conservation.
Other CDs available from Pisces Conservation include:
  • "Notes of a Botanist on the Amazon and Andes" by Richard Spruce
  • "Travels on the Amazon and Rio Negro" by Alfred Russel Wallace
  • "The Naturalist on the River Amazons" by H.W. Bates

Dr Peter Henderson
A wide range of pictures are available on this site, showing the fantastic diversity of Amazonian fish by selecting the Fishes list, or browse the pictures and information resources available from the Main menu.

While this site focuses on fish, we also place them in their ecological context. You will find information on the physical and chemical properties of Amazonian waters, and about the communities of which these fish are a part. Finally, we have not forgotten the importance of plants, for without the forest and floating meadow the fish fauna of the Amazon would no longer be the greatest in the world.

The loss of forest, particularly in the floodplain, must be the largest threat to fish diversity in the region. While overfishing is occurring, it probably only affects 10 to 20 large species within the basin. In contrast, the deforestation of a catchment may result in the loss of 30 to 100 species from its streams. However, while overfishing may not cause mass extinction it does impoverish our world. In many lakes it is no longer possible to see pirarucu the length of a crocodile lazily lying at the surface: nevertheless, all is far from lost and as yet the Amazonian fish fauna has suffered few significant losses.

Much of the fieldwork used to support this site was undertaken as part of Projeto Mamiraua, a project to form a huge inundation forest reserve at the confluence of the Rios Solimoes and Japura near Tefe. This reserve has proved a great success and is a credit to Brazil, the local people and the international organisations that supported its formation.

The local people love their fish, they are important as food, but they are also a constant source of interest and surprise. We hope the site will stimulate some users to discover more about the Amazon and be useful for others planning a visit so that they can appreciate more fully the splendours they will see.