Fauna Of Mexico: The 15 Most Characteristic Animals

The fauna of Mexico is another of those treasures, along with its beaches and enchanted cities, that the Central American country offers. Animal lovers will love this country since in Mexico there are hundreds of very striking species and, in some cases, unique in the world.

According to the National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity of Mexico (CONABIO), this country constitutes only 1% of the Earth’s surface, but is home to 10% of recognized species.

fauna of mexico

The rainforests of Mexico are one of the richest reserves of biodiversity on the entire planet and their habitats are home to a large group of wild animals, which include those native to the country, as well as those that migrate from other nations.

In fact, Mexico is one of the 18 mega diverse areas of the world, with an estimated 200,000 species classified as mammals, amphibians, birds, reptiles and insects.

Of these 200,000, more than 400 are mammals. Some of these animals can be found in other countries of the world, while some species are unique to Mexico. Among the mammals that can be found in this country, the jaguar, the porcupine, the wolf, the anteater, the prairie dog, the bat and the bear stand out.

As for birds, the most common are sparrows, orioles, owls, ducks, woodpeckers, and hummingbirds. For its part, the most outstanding reptile species that can be found in Mexico are sea turtles, box turtles, crocodiles, guecos, iguanas, horned snakes and rattlesnakes.

With respect to amphibians, approximately 300 species of animals in Mexico belong to this category. In this group, the tree frog, green toads, salamanders, bull frogs and axolotls stand out.

Lastly, the most common insects in this country are tarantulas, cute spiders, black widow spiders, and grasshoppers.

Animals that show the biodiversity of Mexico

1- The jaguar

Scientific name: Panthera onca .

The jaguar is one of the top predators. According to scientific studies, these mammals feed on 80 other species.

Jaguars often hunt cattle on farms in Mexico, which is why they are often killed as a method of punishment.

2- The scarlet macaw

Scientific name: Ara macao .

The scarlet macaw is a bird of vibrant and striking colors, which makes many people wish they had one as a pet. However, the capture and sale of these animals is illegal in Mexico.

Despite this, the poaching of the scarlet macaw is a serious problem in this country, which has made it now considered a threatened species.

3- The monarch butterfly

Scientific name: Danaus plexippus .

These butterflies are extremely beautiful due to their colorful wings. They are of great importance for the life cycle and for the ecological balance since they constitute pollinating agents.

4- The Mexican gray wolf

Scientific name: Canid lupus baileyi .

The Mexican gray wolf is a subspecies of gray wolf. This wolf has a gray fur with light brown tones on the back. It is endowed with long, thin legs that allow it to run long distances at high speed.

Unfortunately, these animals are in danger of extinction and only a few captive-bred individuals remain.

5- The Californian condor

Scientific name: Gymnogyps californianus .

The Californian condor is the largest bird in North America: the wings of these birds can reach up to 3 meters.

Their feathers are black, except for the inner part of their wings, where white feathers can be seen; its head is bald and can be white, grayish, reddish or purple. This species has been considerably diminished since the 20th century.

6- the shark

Scientific name: Selachimorpha .

The beaches of Cancun, in Mexico, are known as some of the most infested with sharks in the world. Among the shark species that can be found in the Gulf of Mexico, the following stand out:

The bull shark or Sardinian shark ( Carcharinus leucas ), which is gray with a white stripe and reaches 3 meters. This is the only species that can live comfortably in fresh and salt water.

The thresher shark ( Alopia vulpinus ), this measures between 4 and 6 meters when it reaches maturity.

The nurse shark or cat shark ( Ginglymostoma cirratum ), at birth, these sharks have spots, however, when they grow, their entire body becomes unicolor. They are usually grayish or brownish.

7- Whales

Scientific name: Balaenidae .

Among the whales seen in the waters of Mexico are the gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) and the humpback whale ( Megaptera novaeangliae ).

Every year, gray whales migrate from the cold waters of the north to the warmer areas of the Central Pacific Coast of Baja California. The same goes for humpback whales.

8- The bee

Scientific name: Anthophila .

Bees, like other insects, play an important role in pollinating flowers. In Mexico there are different species, such as the orchid bee (also called euglosin) and the carpenter bee (similar to bumblebees due to their size and appearance); both are large insects that can reach 5 cm in length.

9- The bat

Scientific name: Pipistrellus pipistrellus .

Bats are animals that play an important role in ecosystems, since they help regulate the insect population. They also intervene in the pollination of plants, such as those used to make tequila.

10- Golden Eagle

Scientific name: Aquila chrisaetos .

This is a species of bird of prey that lives in North America. Because this animal is attributed the qualities of strength and leadership, it has become the national symbol of many countries, Mexico included.

11- Axolotl

Scientific name: Ambystoma mexicanum.

One of the most peculiar animals in the world. Endemic to Mexico, it is currently in critical condition. It is an amphibian of about 15 cm, with small eyes, three pairs of gills and small legs. It has different varieties of color.

12- Tecolote

Scientific name: Strix occidentalis lucida.

Species present in several states such as Sinaloa, Chihuahua, Sonora or Nuevo León. It belongs to the Strigidae family of owls and is characterized by being nocturnal birds that feed on small rodents, snakes or lizards. It is very popular in Mexican popular culture, being considered by many as a “bird of the underworld.”

13- Ocelot

Scientific name: Leopardus pardalis.

Also known as the wild cat, it is one of the most beautiful mammals that roam the Mexican fauna and the rest of America. It is nocturnal and a good climber of trees. They measure about 70-80 cm and weigh no more than 11 kg.

14- Quetzal

Scientific name: Euptilotis neoxenus.

Mythical bird that is distributed by the Sierra Madre Occidental and the Transversal Volcanic System. It measures about 34-35 cm on average and the most characteristic thing is its tail of red and orange tones.

15- Prairie dog

Scientific name: Cynomys mexicanus.

Endemic species of the country. It is a rodent that lives at high altitudes on rocky terrain in northern Mexico. It is vital for its ecosystem , as it serves as prey for other species such as the coyote or the eagle. It is currently in danger of extinction.

References

  1. Sharks in the Gulf of Mexico. Retrieved on April 28, 2017, from oceanofk.org.
  2. Bees and Beetles. Retrieved on April 28, 2017, from ontheroadin.com.
  3. Whale Watching. Retrieved on April 28, 2017, from whaleroute.com.
  4. Mexican Gray Wolf. Basic Facts. Retrieved on April 28, 2017, from defenders.org.
  5. California Condor. Basic Facts. Retrieved on April 28, 2017, from defenders.org.
  6. 9 Awesome Animals that Showcase Mexico’s Biodiversity. Retrieved on April 28, 2017, from fws.gov.
  7. Wildlife Conservation and Management in Mexico. Retrieved on April 28, 2017, from faculty.weber.edu.
  8. Animals and the Maya in Southeast Mexico. Retrieved on April 28, 2017, from ethnohistory.dukejournals.org.
  9. Guide to Wildlife in Mexico. Retrieved on April 28, 2017, from seasidemexico.com.

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