OVERVIEW: A field expedition funded by the ACSI (NSF DEB-0315963) was conducted from July 7th to August 1st in Western Brazil, in the states of Mato Grosso, Rondônia, Acre, and Amazonas. The expedition sampled mainly headwater streams of the Paraguay, Tapajós, Madeira, and Purus rivers.
A total of 159 field stations were sampled and 217 catfish species, belonging to all South American families except the Andean Astroblepidae, Diplomystidae, and Nematogeneidae, were collected. Of these, 36 species were detected as undescribed and are already assigned to one or more ACSI participant scientists who will describe them (see list below). It is likely that several other undescribed species are among this collection, because many species are so far identify only to genus (see list below). Further on the collecting team, John Lundberg, Flávio Bockmann, Osvaldo Oyakawa, Marcelo R. Britto, and Jonathan Armbruster participated in the initial sorting/identification process. Mark Sabaj, Alberto Akama, Carl Ferraris, Richard Vari, and Luiza Soares-Porto helped identifying digital photographs of several species sent via email.
The catfish collection is now being cataloged in MCP Fish Collection and portions of it will be later split and deposited in other relevant collection. A large amount of other “bycatch” fish collected during the expedition is beginning to be worked-up.
ACTIVITIES: Two collecting teams, in addition to a truck, traveled separately each day making regular, diurnal collections (cast-net, dip-net, beach-seine, hook&line). The teams camped most nights by large rivers and fished at night with gill-nets, beach-seine, cast-nets, and hook&line (see the Power Point presentation attached). Tissue samples were collected from all catfish morphospecies identified in the field and for many bycatch fish species. These tissue samples are deposited in MCP Tissue Collection.
Participants were: Roberto E. Reis (MCP, Expedition Coordinator), José F. Pezzi da Silva (MCP), Edson H. L. Pereira (MCP), Vinicius A. Bertaco (MCP), Pablo C. Lehmann (MCP), Alexandre R. Cardoso (MCP), Francisco Langeani (UNESP), Paulo A. Buckup (MNRJ), Flávio C. T. Lima (MZUSP), and Cláudio Gallina (truck driver). Every day ichthyologists were divided up in two 4-person teams that traveled separately. One ichthyologist traveled in the truck each day and was responsible for the infrastructure (buy food and supplies, find safe camping areas, fix nets, etc). The truck usually stopped before dark to set up camping facilities and spread the gill-nets at dusk. The two teams worked until dusk before gathering together for the night. Teams coordinated by 2-way radios, maps, and GPS.
THE ROUTE: Tributaries of the Paraguay, Juruena (Tapajós), Madeira, and Purus Rivers were sampled. The original idea of spending a few days collecting in the upper Juruena River, on the Chapada dos Parecis, was dropped because the pilot trip indicated that the area is severely modified by agriculture. A small portion, better preserved, of the Chapada dos Parecis was indeed sampled. Likewise, the portion of the Acre State west of the Purus River was not collected because of the very bad roads that did not allowed us to pass (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1. Sampling stations of Brazilian Transcontinental Expedition.
The truck was loaded in MCP and departed to Cuiabá on July 4th. Roberto Reis & José Pezzi da Silva flew to Cuiabá on July 7th to rent cars, buy food and supplies, etc. Remaining participants flew into Cuiabá on July 8th and the expedition started on July 9th.
July 9: Cuiabá to Cáceres (MT), collecting in the upper Paraguay River.
July 10. Cáceres to Pontes e Lacerda, collecting in upper Paraguay and Guaporé rivers.
July 11. Pontes e Lacerda to Comodoro, collecting in upper Guaporé River.
July 12. Comodoro to Papagaio River, collecting in upper Tapajós basin.
July 13. Papagaio River to Vilhena (RO), collecting in upper Tapajós and Guaporé rivers.
July 14. Vilhena to Pimenta Bueno, collecting in upper Guaporé and Machado tributaries.
July 15. Pimenta Bueno to Ji-Paraná, collecting in Machado River basin.
July 16. Ji-Paraná to Ariquemes, collecting in Ji-Paraná and Jamari River tributaries.
July 17. Ariquemes to Porto Velho, collecting in Jamari and Candeias River basin.
July 18. Porto Velho to Jaci-Paraná River, collecting in southern Madeira tributaries.
July 19. Jaci-Paraná to Rio Branco (AC), collecting in lower course of Madeira tributaries.
July 20. Rio Branco to Senna Madureira, collecting in Acre River (Purus basin) tributaries.
July 21. Senna Madureira to Manoel Urbano. Travel further West aborted… Back to Rio Branco.
July 22. Rio Branco to Xapuri, collecting in Acre River tributaries.
July 23. Xapuri to Assis Brasil and Iñapari (Peru), collecting in Acre River tributaries.
July 24. Assis Brasil to Extrema (RO), no collections this day.
July 25. Extrema to Guajará-Mirim, collecting in lower course of Madeira & Mamoré tributaries.
July 26. Guajará-Mirim to Humaitá (AM), no collections this day.
July 27. Collections to the West and East of Humaitá, on Transamazonic Road (Purus and Madeira).
July 28. Humaitá to Porto Velho (RO), collecting in Madeira and Purus tributaries.
July 29. Travel back to Cuiabá (Porto Velho – Cacoal).
July 30. Travel back to Cuiabá (Cacoal – Cáceres).
July 31. Travel back to Cuiabá (Cáceres – Cuiabá). Truck departed to Porto Alegre
August 1. Collectors departed from Cuiabá.
August 5. Truck arrived in Porto Alegre.
August 9-14. Catfish sorted and identification initiated.
LIST OF CATFISHES COLLECTED: The list below includes all catfish species identified to date among the specimens collected. All non-catfish taxa are still waiting to be sorted and it is likely that a few additional, not previously noticed, catfishes will be found among them.
In most cases, a few characters are listed to diagnose those species to which a specific name was not ascribed. All undescribed species detected to date are marked with “sp. n.” Ichthyologists whose names appear near to the new species, already agreed to describe these taxa, and will start working on them soon. These and other ichthyologists will be studying several other specimens in connection with ongoing revisionary work.
A complete list of catfish lots with identification, locality, and number of specimens will be generated from the MCP collection database, as soon as all lots are cataloged, and will be sent to the ACSI website.
Scoloplax dicra [Seen on field but not found yet among unsorted, bycatch fishes]
Bunocephalus amazonicus (“Pseudobunocephalus”)
Bunocephalus aleuropsis (“Pseudobunocephalus”)
FINANCIAL REPORT: Detailed expenses account is appended as an Excel file. Summary expenses are as below. Original receipts are attached for all expenses except food and meals. Of the US$ 23,000.00 initially requested, a total of R$ 66,227.58 (approx. US$ 22,603.00) was spent. Balance not yet spent is R$ 5,052.97 (approx. US$ 1,724.56). The large remaining balance is due to the excellent exchange rate we got when we received the money transfer last May…
Expenses in Brazilian Reals: