Areas such as the Amazon Rainforest are still relatively unknown with new and interesting species being regularly discovered! Sometimes even whole habitats are ‘discovered’ or more commonly highlighted as important when in the past they may not have been. Floating meadows are one such habitat; few people have researched the importance specifically for amphibians. Floating meadows are large sections of water plants which grown on the surface of the rivers and lakes when the forest floods. They grow at the interface between the forest edge and the open water; here they receive a great deal of sunlight and nutrients enabling them to grow.

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I have been working on this habitat for two years now and have discovered that it is vital for hundreds of individual amphibians. I have found nearly 20 different species on floating meadows many of which are Hylid species which tend to spent most of their time in the rainforest canopy. Not only do they use this habitat to take advantage of the hundreds of insects living on it, they also use it for breeding. Males will find a particular spot to call from usually a high leaf where they can project their call out across the vegetation. Here they will stay all night long calling to the females, when their mate arrives they will climb onto her back and she will move down to the lower levels of the vegetation to lay her eggs where he will fertilize them. This habitat is strongly influenced by the rise and fall in water level, in the low water very little floating meadow habitat is available however it is abundant in the high water. It is vital to understand the impacts of seasonal flooding, and the species which rely on this habitat as without this knowledge we could not conserve this unusual assemblage of species.

By: Katy Upon