Remember the Rainforest 1
one with very elongated ears who allowed me to sketch his rather characteristically savage face. With the other Indians of Taruma, one came from a neighboring plantation, made by the previous governor.
She was a 15-year-old girl, daughter of a married couple there, with entirely white hair and eyebrows and red pupils; a perfect albino figure. She seemed sick and crippled, perhaps because of the violence and abandonment she suffered in childhood, for the Indians are terrified of the handicapped , and sometimes they kill them when they are born.
Although the terrain in this region of the Rio Negro was much higher than that of the Amazon, the igarapes,
those interconnected channels within the lands, were so numerous here that our journeys were often hampered by them. For this reason, we preferred, as in Belem do Para, to take our horseback rides along the shore, and we decided to take a longer excursion, to Manacapuru, our friend Zani’s farm, far from Barra, a day trip, on the southern bank of the Amazon, which, above its confluence with the Rio Negro, is called Rio Solimoes by the Portuguese.
We left Barra one afternoon, accompanying our host and the Governor, who also intended to inspect an official fishing ground. The journey of a few hours took us, outside the dark brown waters of Rio Negro, to those of the Amazon, and to an extensive sandbank, the Beach of the Catalan,
where the posts were armed with poles stuck in the sand, occupying the majority of Indians with fishing. When they were engaged in this task, some of them began to make anguished cries, saying that a jacarenamboia (1) flew around
Fulgora lanternaria, the jacarenamboia firefly
them, having come from the interior of the island; they dived into the river, diving as far as possible. To our amazement, we have learned that the Indians regard the “lantern” as an extremely venomous insect and try to escape its sting. The singular form of the creature was probably the cause of this inexplicable fear, and also its name, which means "cobra-jacare." (crocodile snake) in the Tupi language. We caught some of them, causing horror to the Indians. The lantern firefly (Fulgora lanternaria, L.) flies fast in large circles, and appears on the sand islands. We never observed them lit up; nor had the Indians seen its phosphoresce. The phosphorescent beetle is abundant also in the Amazon and its tributaries; However, I do not remember seeing them here so numerous or as beautiful as in
(1)Having heard the song, Martius apparently confused this voice with the one of jacarenamboia, Jitiranaboia that is the current form in Brazil, instead of jiquiranaboia. This, however, is tupico corrupted), given Fulgora lanternaria, so feared, even now, by our sertanejos. It is an insect "of all innocence," as Teodoro Sampaio asserts, which makes the second appellation of jaquiranaboia, the cicada-snake, with spots and signs like the snake. " (Nota da rev. Inst. Hist. and Geogr. Bras.).