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Tepuys Landsat 11 mars 2004.jpg
Landsat image of the southern part of the Eastern Tepuis chain. The two large central plateaus are Kukenán-tepui (left) and Roraima-tepui. Wei-Assipu-tepui is the small peak to the northeast of Roraima. Also visible in the top left of the frame is Yuruaní-tepui.
Highest point
Elevation 2,400 m (7,900 ft) [1]
Coordinates 05°13′08″N 60°42′18″W / 5.21889°N 60.70500°W / 5.21889; -60.70500Coordinates: 05°13′08″N 60°42′18″W / 5.21889°N 60.70500°W / 5.21889; -60.70500
Wei-Assipu-tepui is located in Guyana
Location in Guyana
Location Roraima, Brazil / Cuyuni-Mazaruni, Guyana

Wei-Assipu-tepui, also known as Little Roraima or Roraimita,[2] is a minor tepui of the Eastern Tepuis chain. It lies just off the northeastern flank of Roraima-tepui, directly on the border between Brazil and the disputed Guayana Esequiba territory, claimed by Venezuela but controlled by Guyana, and very close to the tripoint of all three countries.[3] The mountain is known for its extensive cave systems, with one extending for over a kilometre.[3]

Wei-Assipu-tepui has a maximum elevation of around 2,400 metres (7,870 ft).[1] Its summit plateau is highly dissected and generally inclined south-southwest (towards the Brazilian side).[3] The rocky summit is partially forested, with flowering plants of the genus Bonnetia featuring prominently.[4] It also hosts a number of carnivorous plants, including Heliamphora glabra, Heliamphora nutans, and the natural hybrid between the two.[2] The various rock cavities of Wei-Assipu-tepui are home to nesting colonies of white-collared swifts (Streptoprocne zonaris) and oilbirds (Steatornis caripensis).[3] For the latter species, Wei-Assipu-tepui is the easternmost recorded locality in mainland South America, and the first known nesting site in Brazil.[3] The mountain's summit supports a greater variety of herpetofauna than the less vegetated plateaus of nearby Roraima-tepui, Kukenán-tepui, Yuruaní-tepui, and Ilú-tepui.[1] Day temperatures of 17 °C have been recorded on the summit plateau, falling to 12 °C overnight, with slightly lower values in the more sheltered caves.[4]

In the first expedition of its type to Wei-Assipu-tepui, an Italian–Venezuelan team of speleologists explored the mountain's summit plateau in July 2000, surveying four caves and several minor cavities.[3][5] On this expedition were also discovered four previously unknown species of frogs (one of which was later described as Oreophrynella weiassipuensis[6]), and at least two of harvestmen.[4]

According to Carreño et al. (2002), the oldest biblio-cartographic reference to the mountain is likely that of Marie Penelope Rose Clementi (wife of Cecil Clementi), circa 1920,[7] who recounted how its location was determined with a prismatic compass during an English expedition of 1915.[3]

Surveyed caves and cavities of Wei-Assipu-tepui[3][5]
Name Extent Depth Altitude
Sima de los Guácharos de Wei-Assipu-tepui 1,194 m (3,917 ft) 111 m (364 ft) 2,280 m (7,480 ft)
Sima Wei-Assipu-tepui Oeste 280 m (920 ft) 92 m (302 ft) ~2,100 m (6,900 ft)
Abrigo Superior de Wei-Assipu-tepui 136 m (446 ft) 20 m (66 ft) 2,355 m (7,726 ft)
Hotel de Wei-Assipu-tepui 54 m (177 ft) 4 m (13 ft) 2,330 m (7,640 ft)
"Gruta de la Colecta" de Wei-Assipu-tepui 20 m (66 ft) 3 m (9.8 ft)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c MacCulloch, R.D., A. Lathrop, R.P. Reynolds, J.C. Señaris & G.E. Schneider (2007). "Herpetofauna of Mount Roraima, Guiana Shield region, northeastern South America." (PDF).  Herpetological Review 38(1): 24–30.
  2. ^ a b McPherson, S., A. Wistuba, A. Fleischmann & J. Nerz (2011). Sarraceniaceae of South America. Redfern Natural History Productions, Poole.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h (Spanish) Carreño, R., J. Nolla & J. Astort (December 2002). Cavidades del Wei-Assipu-tepui, Macizo del Roraima, Brasil. Boletín de la Sociedad Venezolana de Espeleología 36: 36–45.
  4. ^ a b c (Spanish) Villarreal, O., C. Señaris & C. DoNascimiento (December 2002). Contribución al conocimiento faunístico del Wei-Assipu-tepui, Macizo del Roraima, con énafasis en la anurofauna y opiliofauna. Boletín de la Sociedad Venezolana de Espeleología 36: 46–50.
  5. ^ a b Urbani, F., P. Compère & L. Willems (December 2005). Opal-A speleothems of Wei-Assipu-tepui, Roraima Province, Brazil. Boletín de la Sociedad Venezolana de Espeleología 39: 21–26.
  6. ^ Señaris, J.C., C. DoNascimiento & O. Villarreal (2005). A new species of the genus Oreophrynella (Anura; Bufonidae) from the Guiana Highlands. Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia 45(6): 61–67. doi:10.1590/S0031-10492005000600001
  7. ^ "Mrs. Cecil Clementi" (c.1920). Through British Guiana to the Summit of Roraima. E. P. Dutton and Company, New York.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]