Laguna Catemaco

Laguna Catemaco (Spanish: Laguna de Catemaco) is a freshwater lake located at the center of the Sierra de Los Tuxtlas in south central Veracruz, in east central Mexico.

Laguna Catemaco
Laguna catemaco shore
LocationCatemaco Municipality, Veracruz
Coordinates18°25′N 95°05′W / 18.417°N 95.083°WCoordinates: 18°25′N 95°05′W / 18.417°N 95.083°W
Typepolymictic, eutrophic
Primary outflowsRio Grande de Catemaco
Basin countriesMexico
Surface area72.54 km2 (28.01 sq mi)
Average depth7.6 m (25 ft)
Surface elevation340 m (1,120 ft)


The word lagoon in English, and laguna in Spanish, generally describes a body of shallow brackish water, usually next to the sea. Thus despite the name, Laguna de Catemaco is not a lagoon, but an actual fresh water lake. Common usage in Mexico is Laguna de Catemaco, though scientific articles tend to use the correct and less ambiguous name of Lake Catemaco in English, and Lago Catemaco in Spanish.


Laguna Catemaco was formed millennia ago, when lava flow from Volcano San Martin Tuxtla blocked its current northern end, and stands now at 340 m (1,115 ft) above sea level. It is shallow, averaging 7.6 m (25 ft), with a maximum depth of 22 meters located in the channel between Isla Agaltepec and the city of Catemaco. The circulation pattern is clockwise. The laguna drains via the Rio Grande de Catemaco and its water level is controlled by several dams which replaced historic waterfalls. The change in water level is more than can be explained by evaporation and outflow. Apparently the laguna sits upon fissures permitting water to percolate down.

The lake is polymictic (water turns over more than twice a year), well oxygenated, and contains excessive nutrients (eutrophic) because of fertilizer runoff from the neighboring farms and nurseries. Because of the excessive nutrients, Laguna Catemaco is one of the more productive lakes in Mexico, up to 1,800 tons annually. Large netting is prohibited to assure the livelihood of more than a thousand registered fishermen. A perch-like fish called Oreochromis aureus was introduced from Africa, while a sardine like Topote, and the snail Tegogolo are the most common catches.

According to Miller and Conner (1997) there are 14 species of fish in Lake Catemaco. Two species, Micropterus salmoides Lacepède and Oreochromis aureus Steindachner have been introduced into the lake, and another two species, Vieja fenestrata Günther and Ophisternon aenigmaticum Rosen & Greenwood, are widespread throughout eastern Mexico and Central America. Of the remaining 10 species, five are endemic to the lake and five may represent undescribed species endemic to the lake (Miller and Conner 1997, Meyer and Schartl 2003). The high rate of endemicity suggests that Lake Catemaco has been biogeographically isolated for some time, possibly since its origin up to 2 million years ago.


Laguna Catemaco has a surface area of 72.54 km2 (28.01 sq mi), is formed like an elliptical parabola and is almost square with maximum width and axis of a little more than 10 km (6.2 mi), (10,250 m width and a WSW-ENE axis of 12,320 m). It contains 552,000,000 cubic metres (448,000 acre⋅ft) of water. The laguna is Mexico's eighteenth in size of water bodies, seventh in size of lakes and lagunas, third in size of lakes.

Prevailing climate is hot and humid with average temperature of 23.4 °C (75 °F). Rainfall varies seasonally with averages of 2,068 mm (81.4 in) recorded at Catemaco and 4,614 mm (181.7 in) at Coyame. Winds from the Gulf of Mexico enter the Catemaco watershed through an opening in the surrounding mountains located to the north of the town of Coyame, and cross the lake in a NE-SW direction, blowing strongly over the lake throughout the year. From February to October, northeast winds are dominant. Colder and faster northern winds blow from November to January.

The tropical rainforest that once covered all the watershed of the lake has been severely decimated in the last few decades. Consequently, sedimentation has greatly increased, affecting the clarity of its waters and if left uncontrolled will possibly fill in the lake in the far future.

The shoreline is irregular, with remnants of several volcanic cones and its perimeter is about 50 km (50,000,000 mm) and would be an ideal venue for 50 km sporting events, if circumnavigation were possible. At present a gap in the lake shore road at Tepeyaga peninsula prohibits this.

There are several volcanic islands within the lake. Several of these islands are stocked with native and imported monkeys as a University of Veracruz research project. This has led to more than 70 small boats scurrying tourists from Catemaco city across the lake to view the free ranging monkeys. The lake has been the backdrop for movies, including Sean Connery's Medicine Man.

External links

Catemaco (municipality)

Catemaco Municipality is one of the 212 municipalities that make up the Mexican state of Veracruz.

It is located in the state's Los Tuxtlas. The municipal seat is the city of Catemaco.

In the 2005 INEGI Census, the municipality reported a total population of 46,702, of whom 22,965 lived in the municipal seat.

Ethnic composition is primarily of mestizo origins. Indigenous language speakers number less than 500.

The municipality of Catemaco covers a total surface area of 710.67 km² along the Gulf of Mexico between the foothills of Volcano San Martín Tuxtla and the Sierra Santa Marta, and incorporate Laguna Catemaco and Laguna Sontecomapan plus a large part of the Los Tuxtlas Biosphere Reserve.

Catemaco borders the municipalities of San Andrés Tuxtla to the west, Hueyapan de Ocampo and Soteapan to the south and Tatahuicapan de Juárez and Mecayapan to the east.

Economically Catemaco depends on a mix of tourism, cattle ranching, fishery and agriculture. Statistically the municipality ranks as one of the poorer ones in Veracruz.


A lagoon is a shallow body of water separated from a larger body of water by barrier islands or reefs. Lagoons are commonly divided into coastal lagoons and atoll lagoons. They have also been identified as occurring on mixed-sand and gravel coastlines. There is an overlap between bodies of water classified as coastal lagoons and bodies of water classified as estuaries. Lagoons are common coastal features around many parts of the world.

Laguna de Bay

Laguna de Baý (Filipino: Lawa ng Baé; English: Lake of Baý) is the largest lake in the Philippines located east of Metro Manila between the provinces of Laguna to the south and Rizal to the north. The freshwater lake has a surface area of 911–949 km² (352–366 sq mi), with an average depth of about 2.8 metres (9 ft 2 in) and an elevation of about 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) above sea level. The lake is shaped like a stylized 'W', with two peninsulas jutting out from the northern shore. Between these peninsulas, the middle lobe fills the large volcanic Laguna Caldera. In the middle of the lake is the large island of Talim, which falls under the jurisdiction of the towns of Binangonan and Cardona in Rizal province.

The lake is one of the primary sources of freshwater fish in the country. Its water drains to Manila Bay via the Pasig River.

Laguna de los Cerros

Laguna de los Cerros is a little-excavated Olmec and Classical era archaeological site, located in the vicinity of Corral Nuevo, within the municipality of Acayucan, in the Mexican state of Veracruz, in the southern foothills of the Tuxtla Mountains, some 30 kilometres (19 mi) south of the Laguna Catemaco.

With Tres Zapotes, San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán, and La Venta, Laguna de los Cerros is considered one of the four major Olmec centers.Laguna de los Cerros ("lake of the hills") was so named because of the nearly 100 mounds dotting the landscape. The basic architectural pattern consists of long parallel mounds flanking large rectangular plazas. Conical mounds mark the plaza ends. Larger mounds, formerly raised residential platforms, are associated with the thinner parallel mounds.It has been confirmed that the site was not occupied during the postclassical period.Most of the mounds date from the Classical era, roughly 250 CE through 900 CE.This region, and the early Olmec people, presumably was the penetration point for commerce between the Mexico highlands and Tuxtepec routes.

List of introduced species

A complete list of introduced species for even quite small areas of the world would be dauntingly long. Humans have introduced more different species to new environments than any single document can hope to record. This list is generally for established species with truly wild populations— not kept domestically—that have been seen numerous times, and have breeding populations. While most introduced species can cause a negative impact to new environments they reach, some can have a positive impact, just for conservation purpose.

Maxacapan, Veracruz

Maxacapan is a village and ejido (population 981 in 2010 and 1039 in 2000) within the municipality of Catemaco, located on the edge of Laguna Catemaco, 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) south of Catemaco City in southcentral Veracruz, southeastern Mexico.

Locally, the ejido is well known for its freshwater snails tegogolos harvested from Laguna Catemaco.


Procambarus is a genus of crayfish in the family Cambaridae, all native to North and Central America. It includes a number of troglobitic species, and the marbled crayfish (marmorkrebs), which is parthenogenetic. Originally described as a subgenus for four species, it now contains 161 species in 16 subgenera.


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