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Pánuco River facts for kids

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Pánuco River
Van Beecq - Rio Panuco.jpeg
Pánuco River, a.k.a. Río de Canoas. Copper-plate engraving from Dutch artist Jan Karel Donatus van Beecq.
Mexico rivers.jpg
Major rivers of Mexico, with Pánuco near the center
Native name Río Pánuco
Other name(s) Río de Canoas
Country Flag of Mexico.svg Mexico
States Mexico
Hidalgo
Querétaro
San Luis Potosí
Tamaulipas
Veracruz
Physical characteristics
Main source Confluence of Moctezuma and Tampaón Rivers
3,800 metres (12,500 ft)
River mouth Gulf of Mexico at Ciudad Madero
0 m (0 ft)
Length 510 kilometres (320 mi)
Discharge
  • Location:
    Las Adjuntas
  • Average rate:
    481 cubic metres per second (17,000 cu ft/s)
Basin features
Basin size 84,956 square kilometres (32,802 sq mi)

The Pánuco River (Spanish: Río Pánuco), also known as the Río de Canoas, is a river in Mexico fed by several tributaries including the Moctezuma River and emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. The river is approximately 510 kilometres (320 mi) long and passes through or borders the states of Mexico, Hidalgo, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz. Since one of the headwaters of the Moctezuma River is the Tula River, the Pánuco ultimately drains the Valley of Mexico containing Mexico City.

Description

Rio panuco
Boat on Pánuco River at Tampico

Near its source, the Pánuco serves as a drainage channel for Mexico City. From there, it becomes the state border between Hidalgo and Querétaro as it moves toward San Luis Potosí. It takes the name Río Pánuco only upon reaching the state of Veracruz. It empties into the Gulf of Mexico at Tampico and Ciudad Madero, where it forms the border between the states of Tamaulipas and Veracruz. The Tampico Bridge crosses the river near its mouth on the Gulf.

In total, the Pánuco is more than 500 km in length, though only the last 15 km is navigable for larger ships. According to the Atlas of Mexico, it is the fourth-largest river in Mexico by volume of runoff, and forms the sixth-largest river basin in Mexico by area. The complete watershed of the Pánuco and its tributaries drains portions of Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosí, Guanajuato, Querétaro, Hidalgo, Mexico, Puebla, and Veracruz.

In 1519, during his cartographic expeditions along the western coast of the Gulf of Mexico, Spanish explorer Alonso Álvarez de Pineda established a settlement on the river, which he named Las Palmas, though it was abandoned after he was killed in battle with indigenous peoples living nearby.

Ecology

Xiphophorus montezumae - AquaPorteDoree 07
The Montezuma swordtail is one of nine species of swordtail found only in the Pánuco River basin

The Pánuco River basin is rich in fish. There are almost 100 fish species, including a few that were introduced. There are many endemics: six Nosferatu cichlid species, five Tampichthys minnows, nine "northern swordtails" (genus Xiphophorus), three Gambusia species, two Ictalurus catfish, the bluetail goodeid (Ataeniobius toweri), dusky splitfin (Goodea gracilis), relict splitfin (Xenoophorus captivus), pygmy shiner (Notropis tropicus), checkered pupfish (Cualac tessellatus), broadspotted molly (Poecilia latipunctata), Tamasopo cichlid (Herichthys tamasopoensis), Calabazas shiner (Notropis calabazas) and fleshylip buffalo (Ictiobus labiosus). Additionally, a couple of still-undescribed species are known from this river basin. A few of the endemics are seriously threatened.

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