Flora and Fauna of Antarctica - Characteristics and Species

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Antarctica is a large icy land layer surrounded by the Southern Ocean, with dimensions of approximately 13 million km2, is considered the sixth continent and is located in the south of the planet. The flora and fauna of the South Pole show great adaptation over time due to the extreme conditions of the area, and the life of both plants and animals, mainly, is limited to the coastal areas.

If you want to know more about the Antarctic biome, then be sure to read this interesting article by Ecologist Verde that will focus mainly on the flora and fauna of Antarctica.

Characteristics of the flora and fauna of Antarctica

Despite of antarctica climateIn it you can find a large number of species of flora and fauna, both land and sea.

The flora of antarctica It is mainly made up of lower vegetables, that is, species of lichens, fungi and mosses. Being the lichens the best adapted to the climatic conditions of the territory. In general, the vegetation is distributed from the Subantarctic Islands to the South Pole itself.

Regarding the fauna species of AntarcticaSome, like the Weddell seal or the emperor penguin, are unique. However, most are migratory, they reproduce and feed their young during the summer in Antarctica and once the season is over they leave the continent. Others, for example, such as orcas, whales or the leopard seal, breed in warmer waters, but feed in Antarctic waters. In addition, some species such as petrels, cormorants and terns, among others, live in colonies in coastal areas. There are also those, such as checkerboard petrels or Antarctic pigeons, which nest in more isolated areas.

Flora of Antarctica

Next, some of the plant species that make up the flora of antarctica, including two flowering plants:

Antarctic grass (Deschampsia antarctica)

This plant has flowers and is a self-pollinating species that grows in the summer months. The effects of climate change, such as the increase in temperature, are causing the population of this species to increase.

Antarctic carnation (Colobanthus quitensis)

It is the other plant that presents flowers, although its yellow flowers have the appearance of moss. This plant normally grows in areas where rainfall is adequate and the climate is temperate, these conditions usually occur in the west and north of the continent.

Kerguelen cabbage (Pringlea antiscorbutica)

Plant native to Antarctica with some resemblance to the common cabbage plant, discovered on the island of Kerguelen. It is self-pollinating, so its location on the windy islands of the contain is ideal.

Cushion Lyallia (Lyallia kerguelensis)

Endemic to the Kerguelen Islands, they breed in small populations on the alpine moors and moraines. They can live up to 16 years.

Other species of flora of Antarctica

  • Lichens (Usnea sp)
  • Ross Island Moss (Sarconeurum glaciale)
  • Hair moss (Polytrichum sp)
  • Signy island moss (Schistidium antarctici)
  • Windmill Grimmia Islands (Grimmia antarctici)

Here below you can see four photos of the Antarctic plants that have been described before, in the same order.

Fauna of Antarctica

Next, some of the animal species that make up the fauna of antarctica:

Emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri)

This species of penguin can weigh up to 45 kg and measure 120 cm. They cannot fly, although their body is adapted for marine life, being able to submerge to hunt for an average time of 18 minutes and at a depth of more than 15 m.

Minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis)

The southern fin whale is one of the smallest species of fin whales. This species of whale is found inhabiting the southern oceans of the planet.

Weddell seal (Leptonychotes weddellii)

This mammal is normally found in ice-free areas of the Antarctic Peninsula. It is not migratory and they are very well adapted to the cold thanks to the large layers of fat that cover their organs.

Southern Giant Petrel (Macronectes giganteus)

The southern giant petrel as its name suggests is the largest of the petrel species and they are characterized by their type of low flight.

Other species of fauna of Antarctica

  • Chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antárctica)
  • Antarctic tern (Sterna vittata)
  • Adelie Penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae)
  • Wandering AlbatrossDiomedea exulans)
  • Black browed albatross (Thalassarche melanophris)
  • Petrel checkerboard (Daption capensis)
  • Humpback or jubarta whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)
  • Leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx)
  • Antarctic fur seal or Antarctic fur seal (Arctocephalus gazella)
  • Blue eyed cormorant (Phalacrocorax atriceps bransfieldensi)
  • Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea)
  • Antarctic pigeon (Chionis alba)
  • South polar skua (Catharacta maccormicki)
  • Antarctic Petrel (Thalassoica antarctica)
  • Snow Petrel (Pagodroma nivea)
  • Krill (Euphausia superba)
  • Comb jellyfish (Phylum Ctenophora)
  • Southern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialoides)
  • Antarctic limpet (Nacella concinna)

Below you can see four photos of the Antarctic animals that have been described above, in the same order.

Endangered species of flora and fauna of Antarctica

The endangered plants and animals of Antarctica are:

Antarctic plants in danger of extinction

Plant species in Antarctica are being threatened by climate change. However, there is currently no evidence that there are endangered plant species.

Endangered Antarctic Animals

  • Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba).
  • Emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri).
  • Crabeater sealLobodon carcinophagus).
  • Adelie Penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae).
  • Nototenoid fish or Antarctic fish.

If you want to read more articles similar to Flora and fauna of Antarctica, we recommend that you enter our Biodiversity category.

  • In danger of extinction. Endangered animals in Antarctica. Recovered from: https://enpeligrodeextincion.org/animales-en-peligro-de-extincion-de-la-antartida/
  • Barton, G. (January 2022). Ripley believes. Native Plants Of Antarctica. Recovered from: https://es.ripleybelieves.com/native-plants-of-antarctica-3554
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