FLORA and FAUNA of CHILE - Characteristics and examples

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Located in South America, Chile offers a great diversity of both flora and fauna, which is possible thanks to the variety of its climate and geography. This country has a high number of endemic species conditioned, to a great extent, by its topography. In addition, its long extension gives rise to a variety of climates between several of its regions. All this is responsible, to a great extent, for the existence of one or other species and Chilean plants and animals.

If you want to know more about the biodiversity of Chile, we recommend this article by Green Ecologist in which we present the flora and fauna of Chile.

Characteristics of the flora and fauna of Chile

Chile is not characterized by a great diversity of species compared to other neighboring countries, but rather highlights its un high percentage of endemic species, that is to say, species that are only and exclusively in this country. Consequently, this fact implies that ecosystems of Chile are highly vulnerable to any adversity.

The Chile climate is one of the factors that classifies the flora and fauna of chile by zones. With its varied temperatures, this country presents seven different climates: the arid or desert climate, the subtropical climate, the Mediterranean climate, the humid temperate climate, the oceanic climate, the cold steppe climate and the polar climate. These varieties of climate, together with a very diverse relief, determine the species present throughout the extension of the country.

Flora of Chile

The Chilean vegetation it is especially conditioned by weather conditions. In this way, the country can be divided into various regions.

  • The northern part of the country is characterized by little rain and wide deserts. Even so, you can find trees such as tamarugo, carob or shrubs such as yareta. In this area the flowering desert occurs when, after abundant rains, species such as the añañuca grow (Rhodophiala rhodolirion) or guanaco leg (Cistanthe grandiflora).
  • Refering to flora of central ChileThis area has a Mediterranean climate and abundant rainfall occurs in winter, which allows the growth of trees of considerable height. In this area there are species such as the acorn (Beilschmiedia miersii), the molle (Schinus molle), hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), the chagual (Puya chilensis) or the guayacán (Porlieria chilensis).
  • In the south of the country is where the widest diversity of species is found. The copihue stands out (Lapageria rosea), national flower of Chile characterized by being a creeper and with a flower color that ranges from red to white with a shape that assimilates a very long bell.
  • In addition to the aforementioned species, there are many more Chile plants. Some typical Chilean flowers they are the nunScyphanthus elegans), the butterfly (Schizanthus pinnatus), horse nettle (Loasa triloba) or the rooster flowerAlstroemeria ligtu). Other species of chile trees they are the handPodocarpus saligna), the cypress (Cupressus sp.), the lenga (Nothofagus pumilio), the araucaria (Araucaria araucana) or the luma (Amomyrtus luma).

Chilean fauna

After knowing the flora, now we will focus on talking about the chilean animals:

  • In the North of Chile there are two very characteristic ecosystems. First, the dry climate of the Atacama desert is a limiting factor in terms of the quantity and variety of species found. Here you can learn about why it doesn't rain in the Atacama desert. However, when a height of 3,500 meters is reached, we find a climate with abundant rains in summer and abundant vegetation, which facilitate the presence of other species of animals. The most abundant animal in this area are the Andean flamingos (Phoenicoparrus andinus).
  • The greatest wealth of chilean animals It is located in the center of the country, characterized by a very favorable climate. Foxes and mice are found here, especially, along with birds such as the Turk (Pteroptochos megapodius), the chiricoca (Ochetorhynchus melanurus) or the black-fronted sleeper (Muscisaxicola frontalis).
  • Finally, in the south of this country the climatic conditions are very adverse and, although it may seem surprising, the species of animals that inhabit it are incredible. Among them, the little pudu (Pudu pudu) and the huemul (Hippocamelus bisulcus). In this area, we must also highlight the fascinating marine fauna that presents, among other animals, the whales that travel to Antarctica to get food.

Other species of animals that live in Chile are:

  • Call (Lama glama).
  • Cougar (Puma concolor).
  • Nutria (Myocastor coypus).
  • Alpaca (Vicugna pacos).
  • Atacama runner lizard (Microlophus atacamensis).
  • Choroy (Enicognathus leptorhynchus).

In this other post we will tell you about 40 native animals of Chile so you can learn more.

Animals in danger of extinction in Chile

Some of the Chilean animals are in danger of extinction. Some of these endangered animal species in Chile are as follows:

  • The sea catLontra feline).
  • The short-tailed chinchillaChinchilla chinchilla).
  • The Arica hummingbird (or Arica hummingbird, Chilean star; Eulidia yarrellii).
  • The vaquita of the paposo desert (Gyriosomus angustus).
  • The culpeo foxLycalopex culpaeus).
  • The growler from The Volcano (Pristidactylus volcanensis).
  • The Andean catLeopardus jacobita).
  • The huillín (Lontra provocax).
  • The Humboldt penguin (Spheniscus humboldti).
  • The rhea (Rhea).
  • Darwin's frog (Rhinoderma darwinii).

In this other article by Ecologist Verde you can learn more about Animals in danger of extinction in Chile.

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

  • Chester, S. (2016). Flora and fauna of Chile. Flora.
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