Flora And Fauna Of Brazil: Representative Species

The flora and fauna of Brazil is the most diverse in the world, due to its great territorial extension and because it is located in the Intertropical zone. Brazil is the fifth country in the world in area with 8,500,000 Km 2, located in the center of South America and its territory covers most of the Amazon River basin.

On the other hand, in this country there is a great variety of ecosystems, including the tropical rainforest of the Amazon. Among these, the Atlantic Forest extended along its entire Atlantic coast to Paraguay and Argentina and the Cerrado an extensive region of savannas located in the central and southeastern plateaus of the country.

Brazil ranks first in plant diversity with more than 40,000 species, and first in number of mammalian species (701 species). It also ranks first in fish diversity with about 4,000 species and third in birds with about 3,000 species.

In amphibians it is in second place worldwide with just over 1,000 species and in reptiles it is fourth in diversity. Various species of cultivated plants have their origin in this region of the planet, such as rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) and the copoazú (Theobroma grandiflorum).

Flora of Brazil

Red Angelim ( Dinizia excelsa )

This leguminous tree is endemic to the non-flooded forests of the Amazon River basin, where it forms part of the emerging trees of the canopy. It is considered the tallest tree in the Amazon rainforest and one of the tallest in the world.

It can measure up to 88.5 m in height and 5.5 m in diameter at the base of the trunk. It has large buttress roots up to 5 m high and its wood is prized for its hardness and durability.

Rubber ( Hevea brasiliensis )

From this tree of the euphorbiaceae family, endemic to the Amazon basin, natural rubber is extracted. This material used in industry, especially to make tires, is obtained from the latex extracted from the trunk of the plant.

It is a deciduous tree up to 43 m tall with trifoliolate leaves and separate male and female flowers without perianth.

Copoazú ( Theobroma grandiflorum )

This tree, 5 to 20 m tall and with a trunk diameter of 30 cm, is the brother of cacao (Theobroma cacao), both originally from the Amazon. It has flowers of complex structure with fuchsia petals and stamens, and fruits up to 30 cm long, with numerous seeds and white, sweet and aromatic pulp.

It is widely cultivated for its fruits, whose pulp is used to prepare soft drinks, ice cream and copoazú butter. This plant is widely cultivated in the state of Pará in Brazil, where it represents the regional fruit.

Jacaranda or caroba ( Jacaranda brasiliana )

This native species of the Brazilian Cerrado belongs to the bignoniaceae family and has compound leaves with small leaflets and showy purple flowers. It is a deciduous tree 4 to 10 m tall and with a trunk diameter of about 30 cm.

Amazon lily or Amazon water lily ( Victoria amazónica )

It is an aquatic plant of the nympho family that inhabits the rivers of the Amazon basin, with the name synonymous with  Victoria regia . It is a rooted herb with floating circular leaves up to 3 m in diameter with raised margins and petioles up to 8 m in length.

Its flowers reach up to 40 cm in diameter, with numerous petals initially white and then turning pink.

Melocactus ( Melocactus conoideus )

It is a cactus of the globose, spiny and ribbed type, endemic to the savannas and arid areas of the state of Bahia in Brazil. ThisMelocactus It reaches about 15 cm in height and 17 cm in diameter, producing pink or magenta flowers in an apical cottony structure (cephalic).

The fruits are similar to a pepper or chili, about 2 cm long and lilac in color. It is a species threatened by extraction for its ornamental use.

Monkey pot ( Lecythis pisonis )

It is a tree of the lecitidaceous family, a relative of the Brazil nut, up to 30 m high, which lives in the rain forest. It produces flowers with six purple or sometimes white petals in clusters, the fruits are woody nuts in the shape of a pot and when ripe they release a lid to release numerous seeds.

The seeds serve as food for wildlife and are even consumed by humans, although it is not recommended given its heavy metal content. It is said that the name of the plant is due to the fact that young monkeys get their hand trapped inside the pot.

Brazilian or Pernambuco stick ( Caesalpinia echinata )

This legume species is endemic to the Atlantic Forest and is the national tree of Brazil, reaching up to 15 m in height. Its trunk has a brown bark that peels off in patches, revealing the red or orange undercoat.

It has compound leaves and flowers in clusters, with 5 petals, four equal yellow and one narrower yellow and red (standard). 

Butia palm ( Butia spp.)

This common name includes various species of palms of the genus Butiaendemic to the tropical and subtropical area of ​​the southern cone of South America. Most of the species inhabit Brazil, all with compound leaves up to 3 m in length, forming the characteristic tuft of palms.

There are underground stem species like Butia campicolanative of the Cerrado. As well as others with stems up to 12 m tall such asButia yatay, native to the southern savannas.

Sapucaínha ( Carpotroche brasiliensis )

This evergreen tree is endemic to the Atlantic Forest, reaching 10 to 20 m in height with a trunk diameter of up to 40 cm. It produces oval fruits of about 12 cm with a ribbed surface, initially green and then black when ripe with white pulp and numerous seeds.

Its fruits are edible, its wood is also used and an oil appreciated as a medicinal for leprosy is extracted from its seeds, which is why it is known as Pau de Lepra (Leprosy stick).

Fauna of Brazil

Green Anaconda ( Eunectes murinus )

This is the heaviest snake in the world reaching up to 70 kg and one of the longest reaching over 5 m, with olive green skin with rounded black spots. The anaconda inhabits bodies of fresh water, leaving the mainland to rest and reproduce.

It feeds by hunting fish, birds, mammals, and reptiles, trapping them with its jaws while curling itself around its body. Then it tightens its rings as the prey expires, until it suffocates and swallows it whole.

Three-banded armadillo ( Tolypeutes tricinctus )

This armadillo lives in central and northwestern Brazil, both in jungles and in savannas and scrublands. It is the only armadillo capable of fully curling itself into an almost hermetic ball, which allows it to confuse its predators.

It feeds on insects and its body reaches a length of 45 cm and 1.5 kg in weight and the shell is articulated in three sections. The lower part of the body and inside of the legs are covered with long hairs and it was the pet animal of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Boto or pink dolphin ( Inia geoffrensis )

It is a freshwater mammal endemic to the basins of the Amazon, Orinoco and Madeira rivers, with a body of up to 2.55 m in length and 185 kg in weight. It has a low but very long dorsal fin, ranging from the middle of the body to the tail, as well as long pectoral fins.

Its coloration ranges from dark gray when young to pink in adults, and its snout is long and narrow. In addition to the biosonar system (localization by sound rebound) characteristic of dolphins, it also has good eyesight.

Black caiman or black jacaré ( Melanosuchus niger )

It is an endemic caiman of the Amazon basin that reaches up to 6 m in length and has a characteristic black color. It feeds on fish and also large mammals such as capybaras, deer and tapirs.

Hyacinth macaw or blue plow ( Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus )

This macaw is indigo blue in color, with yellow rings around the eyes and at the base of the beak, which is black. It is endemic to Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, with its largest populations in the first country.

It is the largest macaw with 70 to 105 cm in length, a wingspan of up to 140 cm and a weight of 1.7 kg. Its extremely strong beak serves to feed on nuts and hard seeds, and it also feeds on flowers, fruits and leaves.

Jaguar ( Panthera onca )

This feline is the largest predator in America and lives in tropical forests, being the third largest feline in the world. It reaches a length of 1.85 m including the tail and a weight between 56 and 158 kg, with a yellowish brown coat with black rosettes.

It is similar in appearance to the leopard, but larger and more robust, with broader spots and a relatively shorter tail. In Brazil it lives in the Amazonian ecosystems, the Atlantic Forest and the Cerrado, among other areas, always associated with the presence of bodies of water.

Poison dart frog or arrowhead frog ( Adelphobates castaneoticus )

It is one of the species of small frogs of the dendrobatid family that has poisonous alkaloids in the skin. It is endemic to the state of Pará in Brazil, being a terrestrial species, inhabiting the understory of the rainforest.

It barely exceeds 2 cm in length and its skin is shiny black with scattered yellow and orange spots. The name of poison dart frog or arrowhead comes from the use that indigenous people make of their poison for arrows and darts.

Golden lion tamarin or golden lion tamarin ( Leontopithecus rosalia )

It is a monkey with abundant, bright reddish-orange fur, highlighting a profuse mane around the head. This marmoset monkey weighs about 1/2 kg with about 26 cm in body length and with a tail twice as long.

It is considered endangered, inhabiting only three defined areas of southeastern Brazil in the Atlantic rainforest.

Tapir or tapir ( Tapirus terrestris )

It is the largest land mammal in South America, reaching 2.5 m in length, 110 cm in height and 300 kg in weight. It has a short dark brown coat, much lighter towards the head, with white pointed ears and a short black mane.

It has a short proboscis or proboscis and inhabits swamps and rainforests throughout Brazil, feeding on fruits and leaves.

Pygmy marmoset ( Cebuella pygmaea )

The pygmy marmoset is the smallest monkey in the world reaching 100 grams in weight, a body of 15 cm and a tail of 23 cm. Its coat combines golden chestnut, especially towards the front half, with black and gray towards the rear mainly, with a thick tail showing black rings.

This small monkey lives in the northwest of Brazil in the Amazon rainforest and its diet includes the gummy sap of trees, insects, nectar and fruits.

References

  1. Taxonomic Catalog of Fauna do Brasil. (Viewed June 12, 2020). Available in : fauna.jbrj.gov.br
  2. Forzza, RC, et al. (2020). Catalog of plants and fungi do Brasil. Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro.
  3. Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro (2020). Flora do Brasil 2020 in construction. (Viewed on June 12, 2020) Available at: floradobrasil.jbrj.gov.br
  4. Paglia, AP, Fonseca, GAB da, Rylands, AB, Herrmann, G., Aguiar, LMS, Chiarello, AG, Leite, YLR, Costa, LP, Siciliano, S., Kierulff, MCM, Mendes, SL, Tavares, V da C., Mittermeier, RA and Patton JL (2012). Annotated List of Brazilian Mammals / Annotated Checklist of Brazilian Mammals. 2nd Edição / 2nd Edition. Occasional Papers in Conservation Biology, No. 6. Conservation International.
  5. World Wild Life (Viewed on June 9, 2020). worldwildlife.org

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