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Igapós are forests which are flooded for four to seven months every year by blackwater rivers. The igapós of Cantão begin to flood in December, and by March the water in the forest is five to eight meters deep, and running between the trees at speeds of one and two knots. Only trees adapted to such extreme conditions grow in the igapós, and the rushing annual floods mean that the understory is unusually open for a tropical forest. Many flooded forest trees flower and fruit during this season, and the fruit fall into the water and are eaten by fish, which disperse the seeds.

The most common large tree species in the igapó forests of Cantão are the landi and the piranheira. Both of these commonly grow over twenty meters in height, and both of them drop their fruit into the water, to be dispersed by fish. The piranheira tree earned its name due to a further contribution it makes to the aquatic ecosystem: it sprouts new leaves after the peak of the floods, which attract great numbers of caterpillars. These drop into the water whenever the wind shakes the tree tops, attracting schools of small piranha and other omnivorous fish.

The igapós of Cantão have a rich bird fauna, including some habitat specialists. One of the most common is the Band-tailed Antbird, which only nests during the flood season, on the tops of isolated shrubs, only a meter or two above the water. It does so to avoid the abundant predators, which include roaming bands of black-striped capuchin monkeys and coatis.