Lake Titicaca is a lake in the Andes on the border of Peru and Bolivia. By volume of water, it is the largest lake in South America. It is often called the highest navigable lake in the world, with a surface elevation of 3,812 m. Although this refers to navigation by large boats, it's generally considered to mean commercial craft. At least two dozen bodies of water around the world are at higher elevations, but all are much smaller and shallower.
The cold sources and winds over the lake give it an average surface temperature of 10 to 14 °C.
The origin of the name Titicaca is unknown. It has been translated as "Rock Puma", as local communities have traditionally interpreted the shape of the lake to be that of a puma hunting a rabbit. "Titicaca" combines words from the local languages Quechua and Aymara. The word is also translated as "Crag of Lead". Locally, the lake goes by several names. Because the southeast quarter of the lake is separate from the main body (connected only by the Strait of Tiquina), the Bolivians call it Lago Huiñaymarca (Quechua: Wiñay Marka) and the larger part Lago Chucuito. In Peru, these smaller and larger parts are referred to as Lago Pequeño and Lago Grande, respectively.
Lake Titicaca holds large populations of water birds and was designated as a Ramsar Site on August 26, 1998. Several threatened species such as the huge Titicaca Water Frog and the flightless Titicaca Grebe are largely or entirely restricted to the lake, and the Titicaca orestias has gone extinct due to competition and predation by various introduced species of trouts and silversides. In addition to the Titicaca orestias, native fish species in the lake's basin are other species of Orestias, and catfish from the genera Astroblepus and Trichomycterus (the last genus not in the lake itself, but in associated ecosystems). Approximately 90% of the fish species in the basin are endemic.
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