Fauna - what is it? Types of fauna and its features
In the description of the nature of a region, the word "fauna" is often found. What it is? The term which designate the animal world. But does it apply to all animals? Or suggests something very specific? You will learn about all the nuances and meanings of this word in our article.
Fauna - what is it?
The term "fauna" is always applied to a group of animals living in a certain area. However, it does not concern pets and residents of zoos, and it is wrong to use it in such a context. But why? What is fauna? This is all the species diversity of animals that has historically been established in a particular region. They belong to the biogeocenoses of the area and are typical of its inhabitants.
The word comes from the Latin language and was used in ancient Rome. Interestingly, the inhabitants of the empire understood a bit differently what fauna is. It was the mythological image of the goddess - the daughter or spouse of the god Faun.She was associated with innocence and fertility. She was the patroness of all women, relieved them from ailments and promoted conception. However, she was considered the goddess of the fields, steppes and forests, the patroness of animal herds.
Today, the term can denote a very broad, generalized concept (the fauna of the Earth) and refer to absolutely all animals of the planet. A can be used in a narrower sense, denoting only a specific group of organisms. Which one depends on the principle of classification.
Since the space of our planet is divided into a state, regions and regions, the world of fauna can be divided relative to these territories. So, you can separately consider the animals of the continents (Africa, Australia, Antarctica, etc.), parts of the world (Asia, Europe, America, etc.) or talk about the inhabitants of a particular country, for example, Congo, Switzerland, and India. There is also the concept of sub fauna. In this case, we are talking about the animal world of cities, villages, agrocenoses.
In addition, there are about 6-9 zoogeographic regions, the fauna of which is different. Almost all of the northern hemisphere of the Earth belongs to the Holarctic, which includes the Palaearctic (north of Eurasia) and the Nearctic (all of North America).South of Tibet, the Himalayas and the Pamirs of Eurasia, the Oriental region begins. Also distinguished: Afrotropika, Neotropics, Madagascar, Antarctic, Australian, New Zealand and Polynesian regions.
This classification is similar to the previous one, but it focuses on specific natural zones and complexes within which animals live. This principle of separation is also called physiographic. So, all animals that live on land belong to the terrestrial fauna, and those that live in reservoirs, to the sea. Among the inhabitants of the water isolated freshwater (lake, marsh, river) and salt water (residents of salt lakes, seas, oceans).
Representatives of different natural areas can vary significantly in appearance, type of food and lifestyle. Therefore, they are divided into steppe, desert, forest, mountain, meadow fauna. There is also a narrower classification that separates animals according to their particular habitat. For example, organisms of the continental shoals belong to the shelf fauna, and soil inhabitants are the inhabitants of the soils. Abyssal animals are species that live at a depth of 3 to 6 km and are divided into benthic and pelagic.Below six kilometers are ultra-abyssal organisms that are found in the ocean trenches.
Other types of fauna
In addition to those already listed, there are still many aspects by which living organisms can be grouped, for example, by the geological period of their life, by the conditions necessary for their habitat, by size or feeding method, etc.
Animals that have adapted to life in high-pressure areas belong to the barophilic fauna. They are found mainly in the deep sea. Cryptogenic organisms inhabit a certain thickness of the horizon and are phylogenetically unrelated to those that live in the lower layers.
Invertebrates that are difficult to distinguish with the naked eye (protozoa, nematodes, small mites, foraminifera, springtails) belong to microfauna. Fish, birds, invertebrates, amphibians, mollusks and other animals larger than one centimeter in size belong to the macrofauna or mesofauna. Organisms whose weight exceeds 40-45 kilograms are considered megafauna.