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frightened, the animals flee to the interior of the continent; only one or another bird, such as the gypsy (Opisthocomus cristatus, Ill.),

Opisthocomus cristatus

which nest in the low scrub, and the macaws, squawking at the top of the highest trees, do not leave their land.


However, the waters quicken the sap of the plants, and from the swollen branches bloom thousands of corollas. While the muddy water swirls the trunks, the crowns are lined with the glaze of the most varied flowers, and the entire igapo forest becomes a flowery aquatic garden. Schools of fish then invade these shadowy waters, and many there are relieved in the deepest pits of the burden of eggs, whose brood, before the flood is over, passes into the main river. Also the alligators and river turtles, at this time, leave the burrows to the animated and murky waters of the igapo, where the copula is held; the former heap their eggs among the mud of the bank, in the edge of the flood; turtles move from flowing waters to lakes and lagoons, where they return to the river as soon as the sand islands are discovered again.

Reaching the highest point, the igapo flood only remains for a few days; the water begins to drain back into the depressions of the ground;

and four to six weeks after the highest level of water, then the muddy ground of the forest reappears out of the water; grass and low weeds sprout lush then, and the animals, returning from the higher regions, return to their former lairs.

Physical properties of the flood.

The water that the Amazon carries, in fact, changes according to its periods; however, it is only at the source that these changes are noted, that is, there the water is clearer, more transparent and lighter colored during the low level of water rather than in the flood.

Amazon Basin

In the lower river basin, particularly from Obidos downwards, the color of the river, seen in its entirety, is dirty yellow, in contrast, to the Solimoes has the clearest waters, tending towards green; In the dry months the water is cleaner. The movement of the Amazon is so impetuous, so large is the volume of the waters, that even its largest tributaries, such as Madeira, whose waters are clearer than those of the Amazon, or the Rio Negro, dark-brown, a league below the confluence no longer shows any visible change. Seen in a glass, the water of the Amazon is clear; and as soon as the fine clay particles settle, it becomes perfectly clear. Because of the white color, the Indians call the Amazon Paranti-pitinga, "white river", as opposed to the Rio Negro.

In the temperature of these waters, throughout the course of our trip, few changes were found: taken from the river, where we sailed, indicated, in general, 21 ° R. We found it almost equal, both at the highest and lowest temperatures to the air, so that its influence seems minimal on that of water; Also, in general, there is no very significant difference between the temperature degree of water and air, whose average state is 22 ° to 22 ° 5 R. (The lowest air temperature we observed was that of 13 °, the highest, in the shadow, was 38 ° R.). At a spring near Barra do Rio Negro, spouting between rocks and coming from the woods, observations made by us, at seven o'clock in the morning and at noon, indicated a temperature almost equal to 19 ° R., so I'm inclined to accept this heat as the average of the water sources of the equatorial closed forest region of the Amazon. Where shallow surfaces are exposed to the sun's rays, they often reach an unusually high temperature, which, as the Indians say, the animals themselves run away from. When we were often eager for some shallow river cove to bathe, the Indians would stop us by saying that the water would not move (no fish would stir it) and therefore it was too hot for the bath. On such surfaces we found that the Reaumur thermometer rose to 37 ° and up to 40 °. The uniformity of the water temperature provides the Indian a bath as a protection against the cold, which they feel very much with the sudden lowering of the air temperature; therefore, they bathe preferably at night or early in the morning, when the water temperature is relatively higher. Also the largest tributaries of the Amazon presented us, near the mouth, great differences in the temperature of its waters, except the Rio Negro, which perhaps because of its depth, like the sea, has the coldest water, a degree R. lower than that of the Amazon.