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What is an estuary

You have probably heard or read the word estero more than once. It can have several meanings, but usually, speaking in terms of ecology and environment, this word refers to areas with swampy conditions, which share a series of geographical and ecological characteristics.

If you want to learn more about what an estuary is , keep reading this AgroCorrn article in which we tell you all about its characteristics and more.

You may also be interested in: Lentic ecosystems: what they are and examples
  1. What is an estuary – definition
  2. Examples of estuaries
  3. Estuary animals

What is an estuary – definition

What does estero mean ? When referring to an estuary, the most common is that we are talking about a flat geographical area , which, due to the inability of the land to drain the water completely , is partly bogged down. However, swampy areas that are flooded due to rain or flooding are also called an estuary.

These are areas with high biodiversity , with depths usually below three meters and in subtropical or tropical regions. They also tend to show very oxygen-poor waters, a large amount of vegetation, both below and above the water level, and a large amount of decaying sediment.

In Spain, in addition, artificially formed salt water lakes are also called estuaries, almost always to exploit the salt itself. There are several that are no longer used for exploitation and have become nature reserves for local birds and fauna.

As estuaries are one of the lentic ecosystems, here we explain everything about what lentic ecosystems are, their characteristics and examples .

Examples of estuaries

There are a good number of estuaries throughout the world, especially if we take into account the different characteristics that are attributed to the term according to the geographical area. However, the best known estuaries are the following:

  • Esteros del Iberá, in Argentina.
  • Esteros del Guadalquivir, in Doñana, in Spain.
  • Esteros de Camaguán, in Venezuela.
  • Esteros between the Arauca River and the Meta River, in Colombia.

Estuary animals

The estuaries tend to be areas with great biodiversity . Here we detail the fauna of the estuaries of different parts of the world:

Animals of the estuaries of Argentina

In the Iberá estuaries, you can find species such as:

  • The deer of the pampas.
  • The deer of the swamps.
  • He will water guazú.
  • The capybara or capybara.
  • Howler monkeys.
  • The good curiyu.
  • The alligators or alligators overo and black
  • Many birds, like the pirincho.

In addition, fish such as:

  • Golden.
  • Pacús.
  • Armed.
  • Tarariras.
  • Palometas.
  • Surubís.
  • Mojarras.

Jaguars, collared peccaries, choker wolves, anteaters and tapirs also inhabited this environment, although all these species disappeared from this area and are considered extinct there since the first half of the 20th century. Thus, these are areas of great environmental importance, vital for the subsistence of a large number of species.

Estuary animals in Spain

In Spain, on the other hand, these areas are exploited to obtain food in a regular but controlled way. The fishing estuary in the Bay of Cadiz is a common practice in every season. It is called the fishing season , in fact, and it was traditionally done when the areas were used for saline exploitation. When the salt extraction work ended in the season, the fish trapped in the rafts were removed. Thus, a whole festival was organized in honor of the end of the salt campaign, in which the collected fish was consumed and the surplus was sold or distributed.

Today, there are estuaries in the area that produce fish and shellfish throughout the year thanks to the fish that are raised and reproduced there naturally. In Spain, these products are increasingly valued by restaurants, since they are fish and shellfish of higher quality and unique flavor. Among the most common fish of the fisheries or estuary fishing is:

  • The estuary seabass.
  • The golden one.
  • Lisa.
  • The flounder.
  • Eel.

Sometimes, you can also catch bream, croaker and king fish, small fish that bear a great resemblance to the anchovy. With regard to the shellfish, which is raised in the areas around the salt flats, in the limo, there are:

  • Coquinas.
  • Clams
  • Crabs
  • Muergos.
  • Cockles.

These products are of higher quality thanks to the fact that both fish and shellfish feed naturally on what they find in the environment, unlike farmed fish, which is raised with feed. The estuary shrimp , which feed on plankton and microalgae and with which the well-known shrimp omelettes are made, and the estuary prawns , whose commercialization is booming and are eaten cooked, are also particularly well known .

If you want to read more articles similar to What is an estuary , we recommend that you enter our Ecosystems category .

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