Zoogeography, Biology tutorial

General Concept of Zoogeography:

Zoogeography deals with the study of distribution of land animals and those living in freshwater. Marine animals can't be confined to any one region as seas are interrelated and only possible barrier for them can be climate. Therefore most of the animal distribution studies are based on land vertebrate fauna which also comprises freshwater fishes and amphibians that because of osmotic problems can't cross salt water to reach from one land mass to another, though land makes only approx 29% of the earth's surface and land vertebrates only 2% of complete animal kingdom. Theoretically zoogeography is study of all animals which comprises invertebrates of which insects comprise largest group.

Zoogeographic provinces are regions of distinctive fauna. They are based on taxonomic or phylogenetic relationships of animals and not adaptations of animals to specific environments.

Zoogeographic Regions:

Below are some relative data for six zoogeographic regions.

a) Palearctic Zoogeographic Province: 28 families of animals are found in this province; 2 are endemic (mole rats, and another rodent group, seleviniids). 22 families of animals in this province are shared with Ethiopian while 19 families are shared with Oriental.

b) Nearctic Zoogeographic Province: This has 24 families of animals; 4 are endemic (pronghorn, mountain beaver, pocket gophers, pocket mice). Most are broadly distributed, particularly in Palearctic. 4 families in this province are shared with Neotropical, but each is symbolized in Nearctic by only one species (armadillo, opossum, porcupine and peccary).

c) Neotropical Zoogeographic Province: This has 32 families; 16 are endemic (10 are caviomorph rodents; 3 are in nearly endemic order Edentata-sloths, and armadillos; 1 is marsupial; and 2 are monkeys). 4 families shared with Nearctic (each represented in Nearctic by only one species) 1 shared with Palearctic (Camelidae), and 1 shared with Oriental (Tapiridae).

d) Ethiopian (Afrotropical) Zoogeographic Province: 38 families; 12 endemic (comprising giraffes, hippopotamus; elephant shrews, golden moles, aardvark, otter shrews, hyraxes, and several rodents). 22 families shared with Palearctic 8 shared with Oriental

e) Oriental Zoogeographic Province: 30 families; 4 endemic families (2 primates-flying lemurs; tree shrews; hairy hedgehogs; spiny dormice). There is one endemic order (spiny dormice) in province. 19 families in this provinces are shared with Palearctic, 8 shared with Ethiopian (like elephants, rhinoceroses, great apes) and 1 shared with Neotropical (Tapiridae).

f) Australian Zoogeographic Province: 9 families; 8 are endemic (6 are marsupials, 2 are monotremes-a subclass of mammals). One non-endemic family is shared with Palearctic (only placental mammal, mouse).

Palaearctic Region:

This is the largest of six regions is covering an area of 14,000,000 square miles. In this region Europe, Asia, North of Himalayas and Northern parts of Africa. It lies on Longitudes 10°W to 170°W and latitudes 25°N to 80°N covers total area of approx 46 million km2.

i) Sub Regions of Palaearctic Region:

a) European Sub-region: Northern and central Europe, Black sea and caucasus rare incorporated in it. It is signified by 85 families of vertebrates. Amphibians and Reptiles are represented with six families each. Myogale, only one genus of mammal is present. Bird like Tits, wagtails etc.

b) Mediterranean Sub-region: Remaining parts of Europe; Africa and Arabian portions are included in it. 124 families of terrestrial vertebrates are present. Birds like Upupa and Pastor; mammals like elephant scurew, Hyena and porcupine are seen in this subregion.

c) Siberian Sub-region: Northern Asia, Himalayas are incorporated in it. 94 families of vertebrates are incorporated in it. Families of Musk deer and Moles are confined to sub-region.

d) Manchurian Sub-region: Japan, Mangolia, Korea, and Manchuria are incorporated in it. Mammals like, Tibetan Languor, Tufted deer, Great Panda, Chinese water deer are common.

ii) Fauna of Palaearctic region: This region is supported by good fauna. Fishes, Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds and Mammals are represented.

Fishes: Most of the fishes show greater affinity to North America. Paddle fishes in China, Cyprinus, Anabas and Sucker fish (Echenis) are present.

Amphibians: Frogs like Discoglossus, Bufo, Hyla, Rhacophorus, Salamanders like Proteus, Megalobatrachus, and a number of tailed amphibians are seen in palaearctic and Nearctic regions.

Nearctic Region:

This cuts across North America, Mexico north of tropics, and Greenland. It lies along Longitudes 168°W to 15°W and latitudes ~20°N to 85°N with the total area of about 21 million km2. It shows great variations in climatic conditions and temperatures.

Sub- Regions of Nearctic Region:

a) California Sub-region: A part of North America Nevada and Cascade ranges and part of British Columbia are incorporated in it. Nearly 86 families of vertebrates like Haplodotidae Anielhade Vampires and Free tailed bats are seen in sub region

b) Rocky Mountain Sub-region: It includes mountains of East California with nearly 107 families of terrestrial vertebrates. Goats, Haplocerus, Prairie dogs and Lizards are commonly seen.

c) Alleghasy Sub-region: It includes rocky mountain sub- region, Lakes of Eastern parts of U.S.A. Vampire bats, Star nosed moles, Opossums, Turkeys and Carolina parrots are present.

d) Canadian Sub- region: It includes remaining parts of North America and Greenland. Bison, Gluttons, Polar bears, arctic fox, Reindeer are commonly seen.

Fauna of the Nearctic region: This includes Fishes, Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds and Mammals.

Fishes: Cat fishes, Garpike, Paddle fishes, and Cyprinidonts are commonly present.

Amphibians: Amphiuma, Salamanders, Bufo, Amblystoma, Hyla, and Rana are seen in region.

Mammals: Mammals such as Squirrels, Moles, Rabbits, Beavers, Cats, Bats, Deers, Bears, Weasels, Opossum, Porcupine and Armadillo are present. Almost 24 families are seen in region.

Neotropical Region:

This comprises tropical Mexico, Central America, South America and adjacent islands (Galapagos, Falklands), and the West Indies. It lies along Longitudes 112°W to 35°W; latitudes 20°N to 57°S. Total area of region is about 8.2 million km2. This region comprises S. America, Central America, Mexico and West Indies. This region is divided in 4 sub-regions: Brazilian sub region, Chillian sub region, Mexicon sub-region and West Indies sub-region.

1) Chillian Sub-region: It comprises West Coast of South America. It has Ands mountain ranges Bolivia =, Peru, Argentina. It includes 3 toed Ostrich called Rhea Americana, Clams, Oil birds are common.

2) Brazilian Sub-region: It includes tropical forests of South America. It shows evergreen forests. Plains are also seen Rivers are present hence more vegetation is seen.

3) Mexican Sub-region: North of Isthmus of Panama is called Maxton sub-region. This region shows Rocky Mountains. It is showing subtropical conditions. In this region Tapiers, Mudterrapins etc., are common.

Fauna in Neotropical region:

Fishes in Neotropical region: In this region several fresh water fishes are present. Significant characteristics of regions are absence of Carps. In this region Cat fishes; Trygonids, Edi fishes are present. In South American region one Dipnoi fish is present Lepidosiren is known as South American Fresh water Lung fish.

Birds in Neotropical: Avian fauna of this region is striking and strange. Therefore South America is known as Bird continent. Birds in region comprise Rhea Americana (3 toed ostrich) - American Ostrich, Tinamus (Flightless bird is Endemic to region), Pigeons, Ducks, Patrots.

Mammals in Neotropical region: 32 families are available. Almost 10 families are endemic to region. Examples:Hapalidae, Cebidae etc. families of New World monkeys. Sloths, Rabbit, Tapiers, Uamas, Ant eaters, Armadillos, Didelphis etc., are also seen in region.

Afrotropical (Ethiopian) Region:

This comprises Africa south of Sahara and Indian Ocean islands Madagascar, Comoro Islands, Seychelles, and Mascarene Islands). Latitudes 20°N to 35°S. Total area is about 21 million km2. This Ethiopian region is divided in four sub regions: East African sub region, West African sub region, South African sub region, and Malagasy sub region.

East African Sub-region: This region comprises Tropical Africa and tropical Arabia is present, because of due to high temperature desert conditions are available. Sahara desert is included in region. Desert animals are incorporated. Example: Camel, Zebra, Giraffe, Ostrich etc.

West African Sub- region: This region illustrates thick forest. River Congo is incorporated in region. This region illustrates heavy rainfall. It has rich flora that supports good fauna. Gorilla, Gibbon, Great Apes, Panthers, Elephants are present Pittedae family of Birds are common.

South African Sub- region: This Southern part of African continent is incorporated in this region. It illustrates peculiar fauna such as Secretory birds, African moles, Rats, Bandicootsetc.

Fauna of Ethiopia Region:

Mammals: Aye aye (Hyaena), Galeopithicus, Gorilla, Chimpanjee, Gibbon, Equs equs (Horse).

Reptiles in Ethiopian region: Crocodiles and Reptiles are very numerous. Examples are: Testudo, Trionyx, Chameleon which is the characteristic of this region and Geck (a flying lizard).

Amphibians: This fauna is distinctive and is represented by Cicaelians, Anura. Rhacophorus, Hyla, Microhyla, Xenopus (Clawed Toad).

Fishes in Ethiopian region: Fish fauna is diverse is diverse in this region. Examples include Protopterus (African fresh water lung fish), Sharks, Tuna fishes, Electric fishes which are common in this region.

Indomalayan (Oriental) Region:

This is found in Southeast Asia and adjacent islands south of Himalayas although Indonesian Archipelago, Philippines, and Borneo to Wallace's Line between Bali and Lombok. The 4 sub regions in this region are Indian sub-region, Ceylon sub-region, Indo-China sub-region, and Indo-Malayan sub-region.

Indian Sub-Region: It comprises North India and Central part. It starts from root of Himalaya and extend up to Malabar Coast. This region illustrates plains and deserts. In this region Antelopes, Indian Bison, Equas and some significant snakes are present.

Ceylonian Sub-Region: It comprises Ceylon, Small Indian Peninsula. It illustrates Loris, Elephants, Equas, Rat, bandicoots and snakes.

Indo-China Sub-Region: It comprises China south of Palaerctic region. It comprises Gibbons, Salamanders, Lemurs, Rhinoceros, Disc tongued frogs are present.

Fauna of Oriental Region:

Fauna of Oriental region illustrates resemblances that of Ethiopian region. The fauna in oriental region include:

Fishes: Fish fauna of Oriental region resemble that of Ethiopian region. Oriental fish fauna is dominated by Carps and Cat fishes. Notopteridae, Anabantklae, Syngnathus, and Cypsilurusetc.,

Birds: In this region 66 families of birds are included. Like Honey Guides, Wood Pecker etc.

Mammals: It includes 30 mammalian families. Shrews, Rabbit, Canis, Aye-aye (Hyaena), Sues, Equas Rhinoceros, Orangutan, Gibbon Gorilla, Chimpanzee Alirus (Himalayan Pander) etc.

Australian Region:

Australian region has Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea and nearby Islands in Pacific ocean Walice comprises Celebas islands in Australian region. Realm is sub divided in four sub regions: a) Australian subregion, b) Austromalayan Subregion, c) Polynesian Subregion and d) Newzealand Subregion.

a) Australian Subregion: It comprises Australia and Tasmania. This region is situated towards Southwest of Pacific Ocean. In this sub region 34 genera of marsupials included. Therefore it is known as Home of Marsupials.

b) Austromalayan Subregion: It comprises Malayan Archepelago islands, New Guinea, Solmon Islands etc., Dendrolagus, Dayrus etc., Marsupials, Crowned Pigeons, and Fly river are there.

c) Polynesian Subregion: This region comprises Polynesian Islands. In this region fauna is poor. Tooth build Pigeons are common.

Fauna of Australian Region:

Mammalian Fauna in Australian region: These comprise Ornithorhynchus (Duck billed Platypus), Macropus (Kangaroo), Dasous (Tiger Cat), Dendrologous, Pteropus (Flying fox).

Avian Fauna in Australian region: In this region flightless birds are common. Such comprise Apteryx (Kiwi); present only in Newzealand, Dromaeus (Emu) New Guinea, and Casso wails- present in Australia.

Reptiles in Australian Region: Major reptiles found in this region comprise Varanus (Monitor Lizard), Trionyx, Testudo elegans, Caretta caretta, Chameleon, Calotes versicolor, Mabuya etc.

Amphibians: Tailed Amphibians, Frogs and Apodans are common in Australian region. Rana species, Hyla arbouria, Micro hyla, Rhachophorus, Alytes etc., Amphibians are common.

Concept of Island Biogeography:

Island biogeography is the field inside biogeography which tries to establish and describe factors which affect species richness of natural communities. Theory was developed to describe species richness of actual islands. It is used in reference to any ecosystem enclosed by unlike ecosystems.

Influencing Factors on Island Biogeography

These have:

  • Degree of isolation (distance to nearest neighbor, and mainland)
  • Length of isolation (time)
  • Size of island (larger area generally assists greater diversity)

Habitat aptness that has:

  • Climate (tropical versus arctic, humid versus arid, etc.)
  • Initial plant and animal composition if before joined to larger land mass (e.g. marsupials, primates)
  • Current species composition
  • Location relative to ocean currents (influences nutrient, fish, bird, and seed flow patterns)
  • Human activity.

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