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Gallery: New Species of the Amazon

Amazon Anaconda


(Image credit: José Maria Fernández Díaz-Formentí.)

Food coma: This enormous anaconda looks like it just enjoyed some lunch. The massive snakes, which can grow to 13 feet (4 meters) or longer, are the first new species of anaconda discovered since 1936. These mainly aquatic boas catch, suffocate, and eat a wide variety of prey. Big anacondas have been known to eat large caiman, and mammals as big as tapirs and even jaguars.

Amazon Anaconda Close


(Image credit: José Maria Fernández Díaz-Formentí.)

The new species of anaconda, discovered in 2002, is just one of a multitude of species scientists found in the Amazon from 1999 to 2009.

In a decade, researchers discovered 1,220 species in the region. That includes 637 plants, 257 fish, 216 amphibians, 55 reptiles, 16 birds and 39 mammals.

Amazon Poison Frog


(Image credit: Evan Twomey)

Over the course of ten years, 24 new species of poison dart frogs were discovered, the majority of them in the Peruvian Amazon. This vibrant species, Ranitomeya benedicta, officially described in 2008, is tiny, like all poison dart frogs. The dainty amphibians, which secrete a nasty poison from their skin to keep predators at bay, range in size between just over half an inch to just under 2.5 inches (1.5 cm to 6 cm).

Amazon Acari Marmoset


(Image credit: Georges Néron.)

The Rio Acari marmoset (Mico acariensis), a small monkey, lives only in remote areas of the Brazilian Amazon. Discovered in 2000, the species has not been studied in the wild, and there is currently no reliable information on its population status or major threats.

Amazon Blind Catfish


(Image credit: Janice Muriel Cunha.)

In the dark, you don't need eyes: This strange, subterranean blind catfish is tiny, and it was only discovered in 2007 when the 1.3-inch (3.5-cm) critters turned up in buckets in hand-dug wells in Brazil.

Amazon Gonatodes Lizard


(Image credit: Philippe J. R. Kok.)

Twenty six lizards have been discovered in the Amazon in the last 10 years. This brightly-colored Gonatodes alexandermendesi is a male of the species.

Amazon Green Frog


(Image credit: Philippe J. R. Kok.)

Kermit, eat your heart out: These little green frogs (Hypsiboas liliae) live near bromeliads, but they must be excellent climbers. In the month of March in their native Guyana, their calls echo from high up in the trees up to almost 50 feet (15 meters) above the ground!

Andrea Mustain was a staff writer for Live Science from 2010 to 2012. She holds a B.S. degree from Northwestern University and an M.S. degree in broadcast journalism from Columbia University.