We know that cenotes are beautiful deep water deposits with thousands of years old and some are located in the Yucatan Peninsula, a place that has the largest extension of known cenotes, but what is the type of fauna that inhabits them? cenotes?
These water reservoirs are more similar to a river than to a lake, since it has been discovered that many of them are interconnected by underground currents, since their waters are not stagnant but in constant movement.
The ancient Maya had an incredibly strong connection to the cenotes, because it was not only their main source of water, but they were considered sacred places and, at the same time, the entrance to the underworld.
At present, the fauna inhabits the cenotes is in danger of extinction, endemic species originated by the relative isolation, and many others have been populated, artificially, by new species that make their lives within these cenotes.
Variety of fauna that inhabits the cenotes
Within the cenotes that are inhabited, studies have been carried out among the invertebrate species that inhabit them, especially focused on macrocrustaceans and, similarly, on zooplankton. On the other hand, a large number of vertebrates inhabit cenotes , like iguanas, turtles, toads and frogs, while on its walls, birds such as swallows make their nests continuously.
Likewise, it is common to find a large variety of fish, especially in those cenotes that are close to the coasts, for example mojarras, guppies, sardines, molis, and catfish; In some systems, even marine invaders, such as snappers, marlin, shad and gobies, can be found.
On the other hand, in the more isolated cenotes, which have not been reached by the most recent increases in sea levels, only two species are found: catfish and guppy.
It is believed that the catfish could have accessed these cenotes by underground routes, while the guppy could have arrived there when some female was transported by a hurricane, a totally possible scenario for guppies, which are small, viviparous fish that support extreme conditions such as high salinity, sudden changes in temperature and changes in oxygen concentrations.
The type of fauna that inhabits the cenotes can sometimes be unique species of their kind, or even those creatures that are on the way to extinction, such as, for example, the Yucatán blind fish, the blind eel, the blind white lady and the mud eel, as well as endemic species of a sardine and a moli.
On the other hand, it is common to find, in the cenotes of Tulum, American eels, which carry out a life process different from the one they commonly experience when they continue their life cycle in rivers.
The food cycle
Fortunately, there is a diversity of flora and fauna that inhabit the cenotes, which allows the food chain to be maintained in a stable way. It is not common for these species to suffer from famine, and if it does occur they can resist it without major problems.