Other Free Encyclopedias » Online Encyclopedia » Encyclopedia - Featured Articles » Featured Articles: Timex Indiglo Watches - The History of Timex Indiglo Watches to Zermatt Switzerland Hotels - Hotels in Zermatt

Tropical Rainforest Animals - Survival Adaptations of Tropical Rainforest Animals

canopy floor species found

Rainforests are the richest habitats in the world. It is home to about 75% of the world’s animal and plant species There are so many tropical rainforest animals, insects and plants that scientists have not yet identified and named them all. Located near the equator, rainforests are inundated with precipitation of 80 to 400 inches per year. Temperatures stay a constant 75 to 80 degrees F. These tropical forests can be found in Southeast Asia, Africa, Australia , Central and South America. The Amazon is the largest known with around 30% of the planet’s species found there.

There are actually 4 layers to a rainforest biome. The emergent, upper canopy, understory and the forest floor. The emergent consists of the tallest trees. They are subject to the most sun, wind and harshest conditions. The majority of rainforest animals actually live in the upper canopy where there is a large abundance of food. The understory gets about 5 % sunlight and is very cool and dense. Little sunlight gets through to the forest floor where a lot of decomposition takes place.

Swinging from tree to tree, many of the rainforest animals of the upper canopy such as the kinkajou with its prehensile tail, are well adapted to life in the trees. Built to fly, glide, swing or jump from limb to limb, rainforest tree dwellers are colorful to look at and many have loud vocalizations so that they can communicate with others of their kind.

By contrast, life on the floor of the rainforest is very different. The high humidity and moisture with little light is a perfect environment for decomposition to occur. King vultures and army ants will scavenge for dead animals. Many insects, fungi and microorganisms will contribute to this process of recycling nutrients from the dead, back into the earth. Larger mammals like the jaguar, tapirs and cassowaries can be found roaming the forest floor.

Survival adaptations of the tropical rainforest animals have been fine tuned. Insects use camouflage to hide from predators. Walking sticks looking like twigs can hide easily from birds. Some butterflies mimic large eyes with spots that will scare off a likely attacker. The skin of the python has patterns and coloration that blend in perfectly with their environment. Their prey can’t see them until it’s too late. Some animals like the poison arrow frog produce toxins in their skin to ward off a predator. These animals are boldly colored as a warning for others to stay as far away as possible.

Specialized relationships between different species can be found in the rainforest. Called symbiosis, there are actually 3 types. The first is mutualism. Examples of this type of relationship are the leafcutter ants and fungi. The leafcutters will provide protection and leaves for the fungi to live on. In return, the fungi supplies nutrients for the ants. Neither could survive without the other.

Commensalism is where one animal benefits and the other is unaffected. For tree sloths, algae grows in the grooves of its fur. This provides camouflage for the sloth in the canopy ( mutualism). The coat, in turn, furnishes shelter for insects that feed on the algae.

In a parasitic relationship, one party benefits and the other party is harmed or killed. A parasitic fly will lay eggs on a leafcutter ant. The eggs hatch and the larvae will bore it’s way into the ant, devouring it.

The rainforests are vital to the survival of these animals and plants of the tropics. Unfortunately, man’s encroachment on these areas has threatened the subsistence of these species. Some of the flora and fauna hold the key to medicinal treatments that may cure many diseases. Also in the wake of the global warming crisis, the rainforests play an important role in stabilizing climate change.

Over several centuries, the tropical rainforest animals and plants have developed successful survival adaptations. With the disappearance of these biomes, tropical rainforest life will surely be destined for extinction.

Troy Homes For Sale - Live In One Of The Safest Cities In The U.S., Look At Troy Homes For Sale [next] [back] Tripp Lite Surge Protector - Tripp Lite Surge Protectors - Tripp Lite Surge Protectors

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or

Vote down Vote up

over 4 years ago

tthis website is dookie buttie.