Rio Sucuri

Our next location was the anaconda river, the Rio Sucuri. According to Marcello, the anaconda river is a botanical El Dorado under water. Only half an hour's drive from Bonito we reached today's destination.
We were greeted by loudly screeching hyacinth macaws – four of these fantastic birds were fighting over the best feeding place in a palm tree.

After a short hike through the jungle we came across a crystal clear source of the Rio Sucuri.

Normally nobody is allowed in the water here, but once again Marcello made it possible. The water here was only 40 - 70 cm deep. We drifted through the water using minimal swimming strokes. An overwhelming number of different plants in the most magnificent forms and colours as far as the eye could see. Some scenes looked like they had been planted by hand - but here it is all NATURAL!

The compact meadows of Hydrocotyle leucocephala and Hydrocotyle verticillata are very impressive. A few metres further on there were large groups of the Brazilian plant, Myriophyllum aquaticum. In the aquarium, this plant is pure green, but the intense solar radiation in the natural habitat makes it bright brown-red in colour. We also observed incredible colouring in Helanthium bolivianum. Behind the still fairly unfamiliar name hides the popular dwarf sword plant, Echinodorus bolivianus. Echinodorus macrophyllus, with its large, rounded leaves, formed a beautiful contrast to the other delicate plants. In a few places we found Bacopa australis. This stem plant has rounded leaflets and forms dense cushion plants.

 

In the source itself the current is quite weak, but after around 50m the water flow becomes stronger and faster. Now all we had to do was drift. This is where first came across huge areas of the pondweed, Potamogeton illinoensis, with yellow-brown leaves. An incredible, shimmering play of colours in the midday sun.

The compact cushions of Nymphaea gardneriana were another colourful highlight. This member of the water lily family is not well-known in aquatics; perhaps it is very difficult to cultivate in an aquarium.

 

The lily pads contrasted well with the large pickerelweed, Pontederia parviflora. This plant grew mainly on the banks, but there were also specimens up to 2 m tall in the deeper water. In many places we gazed in amazement at dark green groups of the stonewort, Chara rusbyana. You could also mistake this green alga for a miniature hornwort.

 

After around ¾ hour, our adventure on the Rio Sucuri was over, but in the process we had covered several kilometres thanks to the strong current. We only saw very isolated small groups of Heteranthera zosterifolia, which had accompanied us in huge groups in the Rio da Prata the day before. We also only saw Gymnocoronis spilanthoides, a well-known aquarium plant, in a few places.
We also admired lots of fish species here that we had already seen in the silver river. However, the population density in the anaconda river is much lower. Unfortunately (or thank God) we had not seen the namesake of this river.


But this fantastic day was to be crowned by a sighting of a giant otter. He was at least 1.2 m long and as quickly as he appeared, he vanished again into the shrubby bank vegetation.

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