Heads Up! Exciting Amazon Expedition in Planning for 2019

Following our very successful – 79 species – Amazon trip in 2017, we are in the very early stages of planning a new Amazonian mammal voyage for October 2019. This time we will be exploring the remote Rio Aripuana in search of a different set of mammals including the newly described Dwarf Marmoset and the enigmatic Dwarf Manatee, known only from a single creek in the Amazon Basin! The animal resembles the Amazonian Manatee genetically, yet is much much smaller and has a different diet.

Other species we hope to encounter include Manicore MarmosetCommon Woolly Monkey and Prince Bernhard’s Titi Monkey along with some exciting bats, rodents, dolphins and many of the commoner Amazonian species. Plus who knows what else!

More details coming soon but if you are interested please let me know. This should be one exciting trip, right on the frontier of mammal watching, and space will be limited to fewer than 15 people.


Field Guides Aripuana Mammal Tour


  • Venkat Sankar

    A bit miffed I can’t make this one as judging by the last trip, this should be absolutely fantastic! Btw, is Dwarf Manatee actually considered a separate species by any taxonomists? Though I suppose the fact that almost no one has gone to look can’t help…

    • Jon Hall

      Yes it should be fun. And we have been discussing your question. I think more work needs to be done on the Dwarf Manatee but it sounds like it should be a full species. It has very similar DNA to the bigger flavour, but according to Micah – who knows more than I do – “Van Roosmalen compared the skulls of the Dwarf Manatee and an immature Amazonian Manatee of similar size, pointing out that the Dwarf Manatee had worn out adult molars. Also, our local guide, Francis, has seen a mother about 1.5 m long swimming with a calf that he indicated was only about 1 ft long!”

    • geomalia

      Smithsonian research associate Daryl Domning questions his “discovery” of a dwarf manatee on an Amazon tributary. “There’s no doubt at all in my mind that his ‘new species’ is nothing but immature individuals of the common Amazonian manatee,” says Domning. “This is even confirmed by the DNA evidence he himself cites.”


      • geomalia

        Have any of the 10+ “new species” Van Roosmalen has claimed since ~2002 been independently confirmed? He made several legitimate and impressive discoveries before then, but I haven’t seen any corroboration of his more recent claims.

        Also, how does one go about searching for Amazonian Manatee? They are so elusive that researchers have resorted to using sonar to locate them.

        • Jon Hall

          Did you see that Van Roosmalen has compared skulls of the dwarf manatee with immature adults of a similar size from elsewhere: the dwarf manatees had worn molars. So it sounds like they are not simply immature animals.

          Apparently there’s a creek we can reach at that time where they congregate so sightings seem pretty likely.

          I’ve only seen an Amazonian Manatee once ( near Tapiche) and then only fleetingly.

  • Vladimir Dinets

    I’ve seen them a few years ago and I’m 100% sure they shouldn’t be a full species. There is a lot of size variability in Aripuana and in other rivers, too. That said, they are a good subspecies and really nice animals to watch.

  • Alan D

    Hi Jon. My wife and I are interested in learning more when you know it.

  • Micah Riegner

    Good to know. Whatever they turn out to be taxonomically, they’re still a fascinating case of dwarfism. I’d be curious to know too if there are any vocal differences between the taxa (apparently, manatees are pretty vocal!). Would make for an interesting study.

  • Morten Joergensen

    Hi Jon. You can sign up Nozomi and myself as most interested in knowing more. We’ll pencil in the dates in our calendars …

  • Kelly Siderio

    Hi Jon- my husband and I are interested in learning more. Looking forward to hearing about it!

  • Curtis Hart

    Lindsay and I would be interested in hearing more when you know more.

  • John Fox

    I am also interested in the trip.

  • Michael

    Please also keep me updated on the trip, it is an area I have always wanted to visit. I may up looking for birds as well, though… 😉

  • Elias Sadalla Filho

    Dear Jon,

    I am interested.
    Please keep me informed.

    P.S. Concerning the Dwarf Manatee: Its existence is not confirmed! It was described by Dr. Marc Van Roosmalen. I saw ssome of his photos.

Leave a Reply