The Caura River has high species richness and diversity in comparison to other similar tributaries in South American basins. The found two undescribed species of shrimp, one of which might be endemic to the area.
Water quality was typical of the area, with both clear and black water rivers in the system. The highest diversity of fishes was found in the Cejiato area of the Upper Caura River and the Takoto River in the Lower Caura. Invertebrates were fairly uniformly distributed, while fishes and plants were not.
Plants were more diverse above Salto Pará while fishes were more diverse below. Nonetheless, the Upper Caura is more important for plant and fish conservation because the species in the upper sections have narrower distributions.
Number of Species
Plants: 399 species
Fish: 278 species
Aquatic insects: >87 species
gastropods 2 species
bivalves 1 species
isopods 1 species
branchiopod 1 species
decapods 10 species (4 crabs, 6 shrimps)
Annelids: >3 species
New Records for the Caura River Basin
Fishes: 110 species
Shrimps: 4 species
Crabs: 2 species
New Species Discovered
Shrimps: Pseudopalaemon n. sp.
Fishes: 10 species
This colorful fish was named in honor of the Ye’kuana indigenous peoples who live in the Caura basin. It was discovered in the Kakada river, a tributary of the Caura surrounded by pristine tropical forest.
The Caura River represents a pristine region typical of the Guyanas and provides an excellent opportunity for conservation, though the portion of the river below the Cinco Mil rapids has a greater number of actual and potential threats.
The most specific recommendations include:
- Stop all development plans that might cause changes in the natural hydrologic cycle of the Caura River Basin including dams, water diversions and major riparian changes.
- Perform a migratory fish study.
- Establish a three-year program on sustainable fishing in the Lower Caura.
- Establish a follow-up monitoring program for the watershed.
- Develop a corridor to protect the flooded forests (up to a 50-year flood cycle).
- Implement educational and public outreach programs about the importance of aquatic ecosystems.
- Prohibit the introduction of exotic aquatic species.
- Restore riparian forests below Cinco Mil rapids.
- Develop management plans for the sustainable harvest of the following plant species: Ocotea cymbarum, Vochysia venezuelana (used for making boats), Acosmium nitens, Geonoma deversa (used in house construction) and Heteropsis flexuosa (used in making baskets and construction).
- Provide immediate protection, as part of a general conservation plan, to the following areas: Raudal Cejiato, Kakada River, the backwaters and flooded lagoons close to Entreríos, the Raudal Suajiditu and the region just above Salto Pará, El Playón and surrounding areas, the Nichare and Tawadu Rivers, the flooded lagoons close to Boca de Nichare and the Takoto River near Raudal Cinco Mil.
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