Reminiscing about Brazil’s wildlife…

With Brazil’s Amazônia region scarcely out of the news recently, and what with the country’s on-going crise-de-cœur about whether it should be saving the rainforest or dragging more of its most destitute citizens out of poverty, it got me reminiscing about the central figure to all these stories – the staggeringly beautiful wildlife that the country has to offer.

The diversity of Brazil’s flora and fauna is remarkable. Over 40,000 species of flora (including fungi) and many thousands of species of fauna, including 1,800 species of birds – 300+ of them unique within Brazil’s borders.

To be honest, I just scratched the surface. Here are a few of the wonderful examples of Brazilian wildlife that I managed to capture in January 2011.

88-butterfly

The striking “88” butterfly is the photo that every tourist going to Foz do Iguaçu comes home with. Even the most conservative accounts give Brazil about 6,000 different species of butterfly. Here are a few more:

Butterflies at Puerto de Iguazú

These beauties (above) were cooling themselves at the Iguaçu waterfalls.

Below, we have a beautiful example of the ruddy daggerwing (Marpesia petreus), which I glimpsed in Rio de Janeiro’s Jardim Botânico.

Brazil’s butterflies and moths make it a must-see for any lepidopteraphile. Like Siproeta stelenes – otherwise known as the common malachite butterfly:

Butterfly in the Jardim Botânico, Curitiba

Enough butterflies – there are even cooler lizards…

And some of them are quite big, like this tegu lizard

Big lizard, Iguaçu

Not to mention Brazil’s vast number of varied, exotic birdlife – including this ariel toucan, which I snapped sat on a cannonball tree in Rio’s Jardim Botânico

Ariel toucan, Rio de Janeiro

And these stunning plush-crested jays, also at the Iguaçu falls…

Plush-crested jays

And these kiskadees are everywhere in Brazil, where they are known as bem-te-vi (“see you well”). This one was pictured at the Oskar Niemeyer museum in Niterói, across the bay from central Rio.

Kiskadee, Niterói

Brazil is also home to the world’s largest living rodent, the capybara (or locally, capivara). These ones can be found munching on the marshy banks of the River Barigui in Curitiba, Paraná.

Capivara, Curitiba

It goes to show that no matter where you are, you can’t escape Brazil’s stunning – and sometimes surprising – flora and fauna.

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