Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca is the only recognized South American ancient lake and probably of Pliocene origin. The lake, characterized by a bipartite basin, is well known for its endemic taxa belonging to the Amphipoda, Mollusca, and Ostracoda, as well as for its economically important fish fauna.


Age (my) 23
Biogeographical area Andean-Patagonean subregion
Surface area (km2) 8,562
Altitude (m asl) 3,810
Maximum depth (m) 281
Mean depth (m) 107
Catchment area (km2) 56,270
Number of species* 533
Number of endemic species* 61
Key endemic taxa Amphipoda, Gastropoda, Ostracoda

Suggested readings:


*from Martens, 1997


(click to enlarge)
Reed belt in Lake Titicaca (photograph: O. Kroll).

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Hyalella sp. of Lake Titicaca with characteristic dorsal spines (photograph: T. Hauffe).

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Heleobia mirum (Haas, 1957), a member of the Heleobia species-flock. This flock shows remarkable character states such as keeled or scalariform shells and spiraliform operculae (photograph: O. Kroll).