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Tambaqui: Flooded Forest Fish printer.gif

The tambaqui (tahm bah KEE) is the fish of the flooded forest. Their life cycle is similar to the seasonal cycle of the rainforest floodplain. Tambaqui also play a vital role in re-generating and distributing the plants of the flooded forest.

Young tambaquis are born in the river channel. The extreme amount of water pushes the young tambaqui into the flooded sections of the forest. They live in floating meadows, eating grass seeds.

In low-water season, they move to flooded lakes, where they eat microscopic plants. The cycle is repeated after 4 or 5 years. When they are old enough and big enough, they swim back into river channels and spawn at the start of the annual floods.

Tambaquis are able to use their sense of smell to locate their favorite foods: fruits and seeds of plants that drop into the water. Tambaquis have specially-adapted teeth that are able to crush hard seeds. When tabaquis get rid of the seeds in the form of waste, many seeds are able to regenerate into new plants.

However, because the tambaqui is such a good-tasting fish for humans, it is in danger of becoming over-fished. What would be some good ways to protect this fish? How could humans help?

For further exploration, check out the following web sites.

Wilderness Classroom's Rainforest Library

Mongabay's Information about the Tambaqui's role in the flooded forest

How should we change our habits to help the planet?

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