Chordates • Earth.com

Amazon river dolphin

(Inia geoffrensis)

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Description

The Amazon river dolphin (Inia geoffrensis), also known as the boto, bufeo or pink river dolphin, is a species of toothed whale classified in the family Iniidae. Three subspecies are currently recognized: I. g. geoffrensis (Amazon river dolphin), I. g. boliviensis (Bolivian river dolphin) and I. g. humboldtiana (Orinoco river dolphin) while position of Araguaian river dolphin (I. araguaiaensis) within the clade is still unclear. The three subspecies are distributed in the Amazon basin, the upper Madeira River in Bolivia, and the Orinoco basin, respectively. The Amazon river dolphin is the largest species of river dolphin, with adult males reaching 185 kilograms (408 lb) in weight, and 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) in length. Adults acquire a pink color, more prominent in males, giving it its nickname "pink river dolphin". Sexual dimorphism is very evident, with males measuring 16% longer and weighing 55% more than females. Like other toothed whales, they have a melon, an organ that is used for bio sonar. The dorsal fin, although short in height, is regarded as long, and the pectoral fins are also large. The fin size, unfused vertebrae, and its relative size allow for improved manoeuvrability when navigating flooded forests and capturing prey. They have one of the widest ranging diets among toothed whales, and feed on up to 53 different species of fish, such as croakers, catfish, tetras and piranhas. They also consume other animals such as river turtles and freshwater crabs. It is the only species of river dolphin kept in captivity, mainly in Venezuela and Europe. It is difficult to train and a high mortality rate is seen among captive individuals. The texture of the body is robust and strong but flexible. Unlike in oceanic dolphins, the cervical vertebrae are not fused, allowing the head to turn 90 degrees.The flukes are broad and triangular, and the dorsal fin, which is keel-shaped, is short in height but very long, extending from the middle of the body to the caudal region. The pectoral fins are large and paddle-shaped. The length of its fins allows the animal to perform a circular movement, allowing for exceptional maneuverability to swim through the flooded forest but decreasing its speed.

Taxonomic tree:

Domain:
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum:
Class: Mammalia
Order:Cetacea
Family:Iniidae
Genus:Inia
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