Thursday, September 27, 2018

Rainforest animals

What animals live in the rainforest?

The tropical forests have an enormous biodiversity. It is estimated that up to half of the species that inhabit the planet, are living in this ecosystem. We can find jungles of this type in the vicinity of Ecuador, South America, Africa, some Southeast Asian Islands, Mexico, Central America, Madagascar, Indochina or Northwest Australia and in them we can find fascinating and very varied animals. In this article we talk about which animals live in the rainforest.



What conditions do tropical forests have?

The conditions that occur in the rainforests are characteristic of the low latitudes in which they are found, with an average temperature of around 25ºC to 30ºC throughout the year and rainfall that can occur throughout the year, including daily , it is common to reach a minimum volume of 100 mm up to about 400 inches of rainfall per year, although this is quite variable. What is common is that these forests reach a very high humidity, from 75 to 90%. These forests, unlike others, do not change their conditions much over a year, but are more or less stable. Given this great humidity and heat, large clusters of clouds are created over these forests.

Due to this high degree of humidity, they are also very dense in terms of vegetation, being common a broadleaf vegetation: trees, shrubs, ferns, etc. That prevent sunlight from reaching the ground, so it also favors the development of mosses and fungi.

Strata of the rainforest

These forests are usually divided into 4 zones or strata (from top to bottom) and they inhabit different animals, because in each stratum there are somewhat different conditions.

  • Emerging stratum: it is the area determined by the tallest trees, which are usually hardwood and broadleaf, reaching up to 60 meters in height. In this area, the strong wind blows and pulls the seeds, which are deposited in the surrounding land for the new generation. It is an area inhabited by bats, butterflies, monkeys and birds.
  • Stratum of the canopy: it is considered the primary layer of the forest. It is formed by a labyrinth of branches and leaves that protect the lower strata of sunlight and rain. In this area food abounds and you can find butterflies, frogs, toucans and snakes.
  • Underbrush layer: also protects the lower layer of sunlight. In this stratum, shrubs of up to 4 meters live and most insects, tree frogs, snakes, jaguars and leopards inhabit it.
  • Stratum of the soil: it is a very dark zone, where vegetation hardly develops. This land cover, buds, branches and twigs. In this area, so-called soil recyclers live, such as giant anteaters, cockroaches and large millipedes. It is called recyclers because they are animals that feed and decompose leaves or plants.



Main animals that live in the tropical jungle

In these forests live so many animals that have not yet documented all the species that inhabit them. Some examples of animals that live in the jungle, both carnivores and herbivores, are:

  • Jaguars: are common in the jungles of America, is the largest predator of the jungle with other cats and crocodiles. It is a feline with golden and yellow fur with some small reddish to black spots. They can reach 130 kg in weight and 2.30 meters. It is an opportunistic carnivore that feeds on mammals, reptiles, insects, fish and invertebrates.
  • Pumas: feline up to two meters and 72 kg in weight. It feeds on insects and large ungulates.
  • Ocelot: feline of fur with spots and average size that measures up to 90 centimeters and weighs 11 kg. It feeds on rodents, monkeys or reptiles. It is one of the animals in danger of extinction in Mexico.
  • Tiger: the largest feline there is. The tiger is a very fast animal that can reach 300 kg of weight and 380 centimeters.
  • Crocodile of the Nile: it is a reptile that lives in jungles of Africa. It feeds on mammals, fish or other reptiles. Above all, he captures them when they come to drink.
  • Elephant: are relatively medium elephants for their species, up to two and a half meters. There is an African elephant and Asian elephants, like the elephant of Sumatra, who live in the jungle. The rest of the elephants that are larger live in areas like the African savanna and not in jungles.
  • Capybaras: are the largest rodents. They live in herds and are of twilight activity
  • Cockatoos: there are up to 21 species of cockatoos in the jungle. They are very showy birds.
Other animals in the rainforest are leopards, panthers, lemurs, anteaters, rock pythons, mambas, tapirs, eagles, macaws and numerous species of parrots, ostriches, chimpanzees and other monkeys.



Monday, September 17, 2018

Wild animals also age

Until a few years ago, the scientific community defended the belief that wild animals died before getting old, mainly by the action of predators or by the presence of parasites. However, the elements opposed to them in a habitat or hostile ecosystem do not manage to get ahead completely over time. It was not until 2011 that aging and senescence in nature were first demonstrated.



The first animals that were monitored to determine their pattern of aging were the blue-footed boobies (Sula nebouxii).

Sula nebouxii

These birds are especially long-lived and inhabit the Pacific coast between Mexico, the Galapagos Islands and Peru. The results obtained show that the germ line, the DNA that gives continuity to the following generations, can be damaged with age. Just as the offspring of men whose age exceeds 50 years is more at risk of genetic diseases, the same happens with these birds. The DNA of older birds is damaged and can make their offspring more prone to diseases or mutations.



For the blue-footed boobies, it is precisely the color of their limbs that makes the difference. The coloring of the legs suffers aging and is an indicator of oxidative damage in sperm, so older males tend to have more muted colors, while middle-aged males have a less damaged germ line and more colorful legs. According to the study, females choose males based on the color of the legs and feel less attraction for older subjects, with legs of more subdued colors.

Before this study, the general belief was that senescence, the natural problems or deteriorations of the body associated with the passage of time and age, only manifested in humans and domestic animals because we have a life expectancy much higher than that would correspond to us in a natural way; We live longer than we would touch. However, the discoveries made by Alberto Velando as the main leader of the research show that senescence exists in nature and that it affects the ability to live and reproduce of wild animals.



The results of the research allowed to open a new field of perspectives on what is behind the sexual signals and served as a first indication of the importance of sexual selection to purge genetic mutations.