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The Tonalá River is located in the coastal plains of the Gulf of Mexico, providing 200 kilometers of navigable waters. It begins its journey in the Sierra Madre of Chiapas, formed by the waters of the Tancochapa, created by the union of the Playas and Pedregal rivers, which begin in the Sierra Atravesada, and the Zanapa, coming from the East and formed by the Costijapa river, the Laguna del Rosario and the San Juan Stream. Finally, the Tonalá empties into the Laguna del Yucateo. It takes its name after the town of Tonalá, located next to the barrier where it ends its voyage in the state of Veracruz, Mexico.
The area adjacent to the mouth of the river is characterized by silt, clay and sand, with silt particularly around the continental shelf and slope, clay around the continental slope and sand around the continental shelf. Today, silt is the most abundant type of sediment moving from the continent towards the continental shelf and the Tonalá is considered one the main contributors.
The river hosts forty-three species of fish and nine species of invertebrates, eight crustaceans and one mollusc. The most abundant species are Arius melanopus,Callinectes danae, Callinectes rathbunae and Diapterus rhombeus. Its macrofauna reveals four abundant species, accounting for 8.1% of the total fauna and 74% of the biomass, which indicates that the system has lost its optimum condition to sustain adequate fish species of commercial interest. These results confirm the deterioration of the river’s ecological system, which has undergone four decades of massive industrial waste due to its proximity to one of the oldest and most important oil areas of the Southeast of Mexico.
Coordinates: 18.22° N 94.12° W
Castañeda L.O. and F.E. Contreras. 2001. Serie: Bibliografia Comentada sobre ecosistemas costeros mexicanos 2001. Centro de Documentacion Ecosistemas Litorales Mexicanos. Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana, Unidad Iztapalapa, Division C. B. S. Depto. de Hidrologia. Publicacion electronica (CD). ISBN:970-654-912-9. Mexico, D.F.
Keywords: River, Silt, Clay, Sand, Fish, Crustacea, Crab, Deterioration of ecological system
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