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Outing #8: In Search of Muck Fish

Rio Negro near Manaus, Brazil (Amazon River Basin)


We explored one of the most diverse ocean ecosystems yesterday. Today, we’ll travel further south to Earth’s most diverse terrestrial ecosystem—the tropical rainforest. In particular, we’ll visit the flooded forests along the banks of the Rio Negro in central Brazil. The abundant water and seasonal floods along the Rio Negro support such a diverse collection of fish and other life, that scientists are still trying to describe it all (including the elusive muck fish that look like swimming hot dogs on the forest floor)!

Start with a brief National Geographic overview of rainforests, their benefits, and what threatens them.

Then, use Google Maps to see where the Rio Negro and Manaus, Brazil are located. Use the Street View function to get the view from the rivers and roads meandering through the rainforest.

Watch these videos from the Frost Museum’s exhibition Amazon Voyage to learn about the diverse fish species swimming in the murky waters and flooded forest floor:


  • Which amazon animals are most interesting to you? Why?

  • What are some of the special adaptations that animals need to live in the flooded forests of the Rio Negro?

  • Would you want to visit the Amazon Rainforest? Why or why not?


Explore the Rainforest Alliance Jewels of the Rainforest game to learn about where animals live in the tropical rainforest.

If you have a group of kids, put on a Flooded Forest Play.

Make a Rainforest in a Jar courtesy of the Smithsonian Institute Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

Finally, explore the animals and colors of the rainforest with Rainforest Alliance coloring sheets.


Post photos of your rainforest jars and creatures in the comments below, via Facebook, or by email!

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