Zoogeography-Palaearctic and Afrotropical Regions, Biology tutorial

Fauna of the Palaearctic Region:

This region is explained as largest of six zoogeographic regions covering area of 36, 259,834 km2 (14,000,000 miles2). Region is comprised of Europe, North of Himalayas, Asia, and Northern parts of Africa. This region illustrates wide range of temperature variations and rainfall. It comprises polar arctic region. On its Northern side it illustrates temperate conditions. Eastern Asia illustrates deciduous forests. In Northern region 'Steppe' grasslands are present. Region thus illustrates wide fluctuations in physical and climatic features that support good fauna.

Palaearctic region, like other regions explained earlier, is separated in four sub-regions. These are:

  • European Sub-region: Northern and central Europe, Black sea and caucasus rare comprised in it. It is signified by 85 families of vertebrates. Amphibians and reptiles are signified with six families each. Myogale, only one genus of mammal is present. Bird such as Tits, wagtails, mammals like wolf and moles are common in given sub-region.
  • Mediterranean Sub-region: Remaining parts of Europe; Africa and Arabian portions are comprised in it. 124 families of terrestrial vertebrates happen here. Birds, such as upupa and Pastor, mammals like elephants, hyenas and porcupines are obsereved in this sub- region.
  • Siberian sub-region: Northern Asia, Himalayas are comprised in it. 94 families of vertebrates are included in it. Families of musk deer and moles are confined to the sub-region.
  • Manchurian Sub-region: This area comprises Japan, Mangolia, Korea, and Manchuria where Mammals such as Great Panda, Tufted deer, Chinese water deer and Tibetan langur are common. Put together, fauna of Palaearctic region is signified by:

Fishes: Cyprinus, Paddle fishes, Anabas and sucker fish (Echenis) are present.

Amphibians: Frogs (Bufo, Rhacophorus, Discoglossus, Hyla, Salamanders like Proteus, Megalobatrachus), and number of tailed amphibians (Urodels) are common.

Reptiles: Snakes (Vipers, Natrix, Dasypettis), lizards (Monitor), tortoises are common reptiles of sub-region.

Birds: Hawks, rails, cuckoos, finches and crows are present but without parrots.

Mammals: We have mammals like deer, camels, horses, hedgehogs, wolves, beavers, pigs, bats, dogs, cats, rabbits, mice, squirrels, bats and moles. It is said that the vertebrate fauna of the Palaearctic Region is not extremely rich and illustrates overlap with fauna of Nearctic Region.

Afrotropical (Ethiopian) Region:

This region, also refers to as Ethiopian region, comprises Southern part of Arabia, Africa and Island of Madagascar. Afrotropical region illustrates extensive desert on North side that is Sahara desert. On Western side is thick forests while rest of Africa is green land. This region is also separated in four sub regions. These are:

  • East African Sub-region: This region comprises tropical Africa and tropical Arabia where high temperature desert conditions prevail; Sahara desert is comprised in this sub-region. Animals like zebra, giraffe, ostrich, camel, etc., are common.
  • West African Sub-region: This sub-region is characterized by thick forest and heavy rainfall. River Congo is comprised in this region. Due to its rich flora, sub-region supports whole range of good fauna comprising gibbons, birds, apes, elephants, lions, gorillas, panthers, snakes, rats, are present.
  • South African Sub-region: This included Southern part of African continent. It illustrates strange fauna like Secretory birds, rats, bandicoots, African moles, and South African lung fish (Protopterus).
  • Malagasy Sub-region: This sub-region comprises Madagascar and close by islands and it is well known for chameleons that are more popular. It is said that island got separated from main land after growth of lemurs, and it is signified by old animals as no fresh evolution occurs there. When taken together, fauna of Afrotropical region is comprised of:

Fishes: Fish fauna is varied in this region. These comprise African freshwater lungfish (Protopterus), catfishes, cyprinids, tuna fishes, sharks, electric fishes etc.

Amphibians: This fauna is characteristic. It is signified by Cicaelians (amphibians with no limbs, frogs, toads (comprising Xenopus - African clawed toad, is completely in this region). This region is lack of tailed amphibians like salamanders.

Reptiles: Reptiles are signified by Chameleons (that characterize region), crocodiles, tortoises (Testudo), turtles (Trionyx), lizards (including flying lizard), and snakes (rattle snakes, cobras, vipers, pythons etc.).

Birds: Most significant birds of the region are two toed-ostrich (Struthio camelus). Others comprise cuckoos, horn bills, pigeons, herons, finches, parrots, storks, hammer-headed birds, mouse birds etc. Last two birds are exclusive to the region.

Mammals: These comprise chimpanzees, hyenas, horses, gorillas, tigers, gibbons, elephants, lions, camels, deer, leopards, pigs and donkeys. Mammals in the region illustrate resemblances with mammalian fauna of Oriental region. This is probable so because Afrotropical and Oriental regions are thought to have been related before continents drifted apart (continental drift).

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