Biodiversity at the Aquicuana Reserve
Author: Charlotte Spieker
The main objective for creating a municipal reserve is to protect the area against agricultural expansion, extensive farming, deforestation, and mining operations and prevent the extraction of natural resources.
The Reserve contains very important biodiversity. This year, Sustainable Bolivia has been working on an inventory of the species that live in the Reserve in order to raise awareness locally and internationally on its incredible diversity of wildlife which must be protected. This is a work in progress and many species have yet to be discovered.
Preliminary birding efforts this year have yielded more than 330 bird species recorded in the Reserve, including several important first registers for the Beni Department of Bolivia. With the help of volunteers and international researchers, we hope to add more species to the list – we estimate there are more than 350 in total. Our avifauna includes the threatened Masked Antpitta (Hylopezus auricularis – a rare endemic species classified as vulnerable by IUCN and recorded at several distinct locales inside the reserve) and the threatened White-throated Toucan, as well as 4 species of large Ara macaws.
Aquicuana abounds with insects, among them butterflies. The Biblis hyperia red stripe is very widespread with a wingspan of 51 to 76 millimeters. Its hind wings are very scalloped. The upper part of its wings is dark brown and the back part has a red stripe. The back of the wings is lighter brown with a pink band.
The beautiful Morpho Deidamia also abounds in the reserve. It is notable for its size ranging from 150 to 170 millimeters. Its anterior wings have concave edges and the upper part of the male’s wings is blue with a black basal stripe. The blue part can have several widths until it is a narrow line. In the female, the upper part of the wings is brown decorated with a blue stripe. The reverse is brown decorated with a line of black ocelli surrounded by yellow.
Reptiles and Amphibians
Thanks to the water bodies within the Reserve, some reptiles such as the caiman can be observed. You can also find famous snakes of the jungle like the Anaconda.
Preliminary research has yielded 40 recorded species of frogs in the Reserve. Of note is the “Green frog” Phyllomedusa camba. It can measure up to 83 millimeters and is known for its slowness and difficulty in jumping. It is easily recognized by its beautiful green color. The Common Suriname Toad also abounds in the Reserve with its unique song; the male has the peculiarity of making mating calls using a bone in his throat.