20 Animals Of The Ecuadorian Coast And Their Characteristics

The animals of the Ecuadorian coast are very diverse; Among them are the iguana, the jaguar, the alligator, the Galapagos penguin, the emerald hummingbird, the ruffed chachalaca, the guanta, the sea lion, among others.

Ecuador is a small South American nation that is home to a fascinating composition of landscapes, habitats and species on the planet. It is crossed by the equatorial line and the Andes mountain range .

The Galapagos giant tortoise is one of the most characteristic animals of the Ecuadorian coast.

Its coasts border the Pacific Ocean for about 2,237 km. There are four regions in the country, each with its own value and cultural and natural attraction.

To the east is the landscape of the mountains that give rise to rivers that eventually enter the Amazon forest. The region of high mountains is place is a row of volcanoes with snowy peaks with forests and high moorlands.

The coasts of Ecuador are a mixture of beaches, bays and small islands that alternate with mangroves and lush jungles . More remotely, is the marine region of the Galapagos Islands known to be the natural laboratory of the famous researcher Charles Darwin .

Unfortunately, the natural wealth of this country is threatened by activities in sectors such as oil and gas, fishmongers, logging, mining and infrastructure.

Ecuador has 8% of the species that inhabit the planet and 18% of bird species. About 3,800 species of vertebrates , 1,550 of mammals, 350 of reptiles, 375 of amphibians, 800 of freshwater fish and 450 of marine fish have been identified. 

It has about 15% of all endemic species of birds in the world, which live mainly in the Andes, the coast and the Amazon region. The species of insects exceed one million and specifically those of butterflies are above 4500.

You can also see 20 incredible animals of the Andes mountain range or know the fauna of the tropical climate: 25 characteristic animals .

List of 20 animals of the Ecuadorian coast

– Fishes

Ojon

The eyeball ( Xenocys jessiae ) is a species of perciform fish belonging to the Haemulidae family. It is an endemic species to the archipelago of the Galapagos Islands. They are elongated and compressed animals with a conical head.

They feature a silver color adorned with about 7 black bands on the sides. They can measure up to 30 centimeters in length. During the day they form aggregations of hundreds of individuals on the rocky shores.

Gungo of the Galapagos

The Galápagos gungo or bizarre corvinite ( Pareques perissa ) is a species of perciform fish belonging to the Sciaenidae family .

It is an endemic species to the archipelago of the Galapagos Islands. Made of oblong leather and black in color, this fish can reach 30 centimeters in length. For its habitat it prefers rocky reefs with depths between 30 and 35 meters.

Camotillo

The camotillo ( Serranus stillbostigma ) is a species of perciform fish belonging to the Serranidae family . It is an endemic species to the archipelago of the Galapagos Islands. Its body is elongated and moderately compressed.

The head and body are red, while the chest is orange. They have some pale broad ones on the cheeks and around the operculum. They can reach a length of 14.5 cm. They inhabit rocky bottoms at depths between 80 and 200 meters.

– Reptiles

Galapagos land iguana

The Galapagos land iguana ( Conolophus subcristatus ) is a species of reptile belonging to the Iguanidae family . This species can be found on all six main islands that correspond to the Galapagos Islands archipelago.

This iguana can measure up to one meter in length with a weight of up to 13 kg. It has a yellow color with black, white and brown spots. The back is adorned with a row of thorns from the center of the neck to the back.

Marine iguana

The marine iguana ( Amblyrhynchus cristatus ) is a reptile belonging to the Iguanidae family . It is an endemic species of the Galapagos Islands and they are considered the only marine lizards.

They have an average length of 70 centimeters with a weight of 1.5 Kg for males and 0.5 Kg for females. They are gray or black in coloration and have dorsal scales that run from head to tail.

Coastal Cayman

The coastal alligator or American crocodile ( Crocodylus acutus ) is a species of reptile belonging to the Crocodylidae family . In the region it is distributed from the Pacific coasts of Colombia, Ecuador and northern Peru.

They have an average length of 3.5 m with a mass of 220 to 450 kg. They have a color between olive green and brown. They have a strong tail that helps them with swimming.

Galapagos giant tortoise

The Galapagos giant tortoise ( Chelonoidis nigra ) is a species of reptile belonging to the Testudinidae family . It is endemic to the Galapagos Islands and is considered the largest living tortoise species.

These animals can measure up to 1.2 meters in length with a weight that varies between 51 and 320 kg. They hold the record of being one of the longest-lived vertebrates with records of up to 152 years.

– Birds

Galapagos penguin

The Galápagos penguin ( Spheniscus mendiculus ) is a species of bird endemic to the Galapagos Islands archipelago. It is considered the only penguin species north of the equator and most of its populations can be found on Fernandina Island and Isabela Island.

It is adapted to this habitat thanks to the cold currents of air and water that lower the temperature of this area. It is a small species of penguin with an average length of 50 centimeters.

Emerald hummingbird

colibri life cycle

The emerald hummingbird or emerald star ( Chaetocercus berlepschi ) is a species of bird belonging to the Apodiformes order and the Trochilidae family .

It is located on the coasts of the province of Esmeraldas. It is considered one of the smallest hummingbirds on the planet. It has a bright green back, a purple gorget, and a white belly.

Rufous-headed Chachalaca

The red-headed chachalaca or guacharaca ( Ortalis erythoptera ) is a species of bird belonging to the Galliformes order and the Craciadae family .

It lives along the coast of Ecuador from the southwestern part of Colombia to the northwestern part of Peru. It is a bird with a greyish body with a reddish head and neck. Adults are between 56 and 66 centimeters in length.

Red-breasted honey man

The red-breasted honeydew or red-breasted dacnis ( Dacnis berlepschi ) is a species of bird belonging to the order of the passerines. It can be found from the extreme southwestern part of Colombia to the northwestern region of Ecuador below 1200 meters above sea level.

The plumage of the male is mostly blue with a reddish breast and yellow belly. Females are brown with a reddish band across the chest. The length of this species is around 12 cm.

– Mammals

Glove

The guanta or common paca ( Cuniculus paca ) is a species of rodent belonging to the Cuniculidae family . It is a mammal of around 70 cm in length with a brown coat with bands of white spots.

It inhabits the coastal, Amazon region and foothills of the Andes mountain range. Its habitat is that of forested areas near water sources. It has nocturnal life habits and feeds on vegetables.

Lion, arino of the Galapagos

The Galapagos sea lion or sea lion ( Zalophus wollebaeki ) is a species of otary endemic to the archipelago of the Galapagos Islands.

It is one of the most numerous species on the islands and a little more scarce on the Isla de la Plata. It is a mammal between 150 to 250 cm in length, with a weight of 50 to 250 kg.

When its skin is wet it acquires a dark brown color but once it dries it tends to be brown in various shades. These sea lions forage at shallow depths for fish, squid, octopus and crustaceans.

Galápagos fur wolf

The fur seal or fur seal of the Galapagos ( Arctocephalus galapagoensis ) is a species of otary endemic to the archipelago of the Galapagos Islands. The largest colonies can be found on Fernandina Island and Isabela Island.

It is a mammal of around 140 cm in length with an approximate weight of 64 kg in males and 27 kg in females. The fur of these animals gave birth from brown to dark gray. Usually it dives to shallow depths where it feeds on a variety of fish and small squid.

Humpback Whale

The humpback whale or yubarta ( Megaptera novaeangliae ) is a species of cetacean belonging to the Balaenopteridae family. These whales are seen off the coast of Ecuador from approximately June to September. The warm waters of this area attract them since they are easy for the newborn babies.

They are individuals that in their adult stage can measure from 11 to 15 meters in length with a weight of 25 to 30 tons. The body is blue-black on the back with a slightly paler belly.

Bottlenose dolphin

Dolphin Taxony

The bottlenose dolphin ( Tursiops truncatus ) is a cetacean belonging to the Delphinidae family. In Ecuador it is found in the waters of the continental coast and around the archipelago of the Galapagos Islands.

It is a mammal from 244 to 381 cm long with a weight of around 250 kg. They are typically light gray individuals on the back with a white belly with a pink tint. Depending on their location, they feed on fish and invertebrates found in shallow or deep waters.

Jaguar

The jaguar or yaguar ( Panthera onca ) is a species of carnivore belonging to the Felidae family . In Ecuador it can be found in the coastal regions, in the Amazon and in the mountain branches derived from the Andes mountain range.

It is a feline with a length of 112 to 241 cm with a weight of 54 to 158 kg in males and 36 to 85 kg in females. This animal has a fur adorned by large black circular patterns that enclose some black spots on a golden brown or yellow background that turns pale around the cheeks, chest and belly.

Ragtail armadillo

The rag-tailed armadillo ( Cabassous centralis ) is a species of armadillo belonging to the Dasypodidae family. In Ecuador it inhabits the north coast and the northwestern foothills of the Andes mountain range.

It is a small animal that measures 30 to 71 cm in length with an average weight of 2.5 kg. It receives such a common name because its tail lacks the keratinous plates that protect the rest of its body.

Armadillos have long claws that help them dig. Its coloration is dark brown to black on the dorsal part with yellow to yellow-gray flanks and belly.

– Corals

Floreana coral

The coral floreana ( Tubastraea floreana ) is a species of anthozoan belonging to the order Scleratinia . It is a fairly rare species that is endemic to the Galapagos Islands.

Today it can only be found around Gardner Islet near Floreana Island. Being a scleractinian coral it has a lime skeleton. The polyps of the coral floreana are bright pink in water and dark red when dry. It feeds on zooplankton by capturing it with its tentacles.

Wellington Solitary Coral

Wellington’s solitary coral (Rhizopsammia wellingtoni) is a species of anthozoan belonging to the order Scleractinia. A few decades ago there were records of this species on the Isabela and Floreana islands of the Galapagos Islands, but today it is believed to be extinct.

It is a scleractinian coral with a lime skeleton. The polyps of this coral are dark purple to black in color.

References 

  1. Wildscreen Arkive. Coral floreana (Tubastraea floreana). [Online] [Cited on: March 15, 2017.] Recovered from arkive.org.
  2. Wellington’s solitary coral (Rhizopsammia wellingtoni). [Online] [Cited on: March 15, 2017.] Recovered from arkive.org.
  3. Smithsonian Tropical research Institute. Species: Xenocys jessiae, Black-striped salema. [Online] [Cited on: March 15, 2017.] Retrieved from biogeodb.stri.si.edu.
  4. Animal Diversity Web. Crocodylus acutus. [Online] 2009. [Cited on: March 15, 2017.] Retrieved from animaldiversity.org.
  5. Wildscreen Arkive. Galapagos giant tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra). [Online] [Cited on: March 15, 2017.] Recovered from arkive.org.
  6. -. Galapagos penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus). [Online] [Cited on: March 15, 2017.] Recovered from arkive.org.
  7. Ágreda, AE The Cornell lab of Ornithology. Chaetocercus berlepschi. [Online] 2010. [Cited on: March 15, 2017.] Retrieved from neotropical.birds.cornell.edu.

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