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  • 11/6/2010

Pink River Dolphin: Boto


The Boto, Boutu, Amazon River Dolphin or Pink River Dolphin (Inia geoffrensis) is a freshwater river dolphin endemic to the Amazon River and Orinoco River systems.

 The largest of the river dolphins, this species is not to be confused with the Tucuxi (Sotalia fluviatilis), whose range overlaps that of the Boto but is not a true river dolphin.

The IUCN lists various other names to describe this species including Amazon Dolphin, Boto Vermelho, Boto Cor-de-Rosa, Bouto, Bufeo, Dauphin de l'Amazone, Inia, Pink Dolphin, Wee Quacker, Pink Freshwater Dolphin, Pink Porpoise, and Tonina.



The first type specimen was described by Henri Marie Ducrotay de Blainville in 1817.

1998 classification lists a single species, I. geoffrensis, in the genus Inia, with three recognised subspecies:

I.g. geoffrensis - Amazon basin population (excluding Madeira river drainage area, above the Teotonio Rapids in Bolivia)

I.g. boliviensis - Amazon basin population in the Madeira drainage area

I.g. humboldtiana - Orinoco basin population

Some older classifications listed the boliviensis population as a separate species.



In a traditional Amazon River myth, at night a Boto becomes a handsome young man who seduces girls, impregnates them, then returns to the river in the morning to become a Boto again. This dolphin shapeshifter is called an encantado. It has been suggested that the myth arose partly because dolphin genitalia bear a resemblance to that of humans. In the local area, there are also tales that it is bad luck to kill a Boto. Legend also states that if a person makes eye contact with a Boto, that person will have nightmares for the rest of his or her life.


Food and Diet

The Boto has 25-30 peg-like front teeth for catching prey and it mainly eats crustaceans,crabs,turtles,and catfish.

Source: encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com

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