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Nearctic

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Description of vertebrate fauna of north America

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Nearctic

  1. 1. Nearctic Region North America above tropics
  2. 2. Nearctic Region North America to Middle of Mexico (South) (North of Tropical Mexico) Greenland (East) & Alentian Islands (West) Except a narrow strip of Central America (Panama Isthmus) cut off from other regions by sea Climate & vegetation resembles Palearctic Climate - North Temperate with an Artic Fringe Eastern North America: Deciduous and mixed forests (Mid latitudes) Westward (in the middle part): Extensive grassland Farther west: Arid country from which rise mountains with strips of mixed or coniferous forest Northward: First great stretch of coniferous forest and then tundra
  3. 3. Nearctic Region
  4. 4. Nearctic Region-Mammals • 24 families • None has a discontinuous distribution • Does not share a fam with old world tropics or Australia • Total number of fam less than palearctic and so many fam unexpectedly absent, Nearctic has 4 endemic fam
  5. 5. Nearctic Region-Mammals • Many Palearctic and Neotropical fam not represented • No hedgehogs, hyenas, or pigs from Palearctic • No tapirs from Neotropical • No camels from both neighboring regions- Palearctic and Neotropical Hyenas Hedgehog Tapirs
  6. 6. Nearctic Region-Mammals • Nearctic has 4 endemic fam- • 3 fam.-Rodents and 1 artiodactyl – (Found in the West of the region primarily) • Rodents- • 1. Pocket Gophers 2. Pocket Mice – (live in the arid areas of West and South of N. America) • 3. Sewellel – (near water in mountaneous areas of the Pacific Coast) • 4. Pronghorns – (on the prairies of Western and Central North America)
  7. 7. Nearctic Region- Endemic Mammals • Pocket Gophers Pocket Mice (These rodents live in the arid areas of West and South of N. America)
  8. 8. Nearctic Region- Endemic Mammals •Sewellel (Aplodontia rufa) Common names: Aplodontia, Boomer, Ground Bear, Giant Mole, Mountain Beaver (This rodent lives near water in mountaneous areas of the Pacific Coast)
  9. 9. Nearctic Region- Endemic Mammals • Pronghorns (on the prairies of Western and Central North America) Pronghorn Deer (This Artiodactyl is related to deer and bovid but different from them in construction of the short and branched horns)
  10. 10. Nearctic Region- Mammals • Largest proportion made by those with a wide range such as – Rabbits – Squirrels – Cricetid rat and mice – Dogs – Mustelids- weasel fam.-sea otter, weasel, badger, Ferret etc. – Cats and Bats Muskrat
  11. 11. Nearctic Region- Mammals • Forms with a considerable though not identical range – Bears – Procyonids- Racoons, Coatis and ringtail cat – Deer – Bovids- cow, buffallows, antelop etc. Racoon Coatis Ringtail cat
  12. 12. Nearctic Region- Mammals • Holarctic Fam.-(Nearctic and Palearctic) • Moles • Pikas • Zapodidae- Jumping Mice • Beavers (Castor canadensis) Jumping mice Moles Moles Pikas Pikas Beavers
  13. 13. Nearctic Region- Mammals • Four fam shared with neotropical • Immigrant from neotropical – Opossum – Armidillo – Tree porcupine • Primarily northerly origin – Peccary Opossum Armidillo Peccary Tree Porcupine
  14. 14. Nearctic Region- Mammals • Human Introductions – Murid Mice – Horses – Domesticated pigs
  15. 15. Nearctic Region- Mammals • Mixture of families – shared with Palearctic Region (especially in the North) – With numerous endemic genera in some groups especially rodents – Some shared with Tropical America
  16. 16. Nearctic Region- Reptiles • Home of many reptiles • Many Snapping trurtles • Musk turtles • Terrapene Terrapene Musk Turtle Snapping Turtle
  17. 17. Nearctic Region- Reptiles • Typical Nearctic snakes – not confined – Harmless garter snakes and poisnous rattle snakes Garter snake Rattle snake
  18. 18. Nearctic Region- Reptiles • Typical Nearctic Lizards – not confined – Geckos, horned iguanid lizards and skinks Horned Iguanid Lizard, Phrynosoma Geckos Skink
  19. 19. Nearctic Region- Endemic Reptiles • Exclusive Nearctic Lizards – Gila Monster Heloderma (excl fam.)- poisnous lizard – An endemic genus of land tortoise, Gopherus (Gopher tortoises) – Anniellids (Anniella sp.) legless lizard Gila Monster, Heloderma Anniella sp. Gopherus sp.
  20. 20. Nearctic Region- Amphibia • Tailed amphibia abundant (some shared with Palearctic) (others more or less confined to the region) – American Salamanders – Ambystomid axolotls – Several neotenous forms of Urodeles with reduced limbs e.g. Siren (gills retained into adult life) Eastern Mud Salamander Ambystoma sp. Siren sp.
  21. 21. Nearctic Region- Amphibia – N.west USA-frog Ascaphus (no tail but tail wagging muscles-descent from some tailed ancestor) Similar to Liopelma of New Zealand Ascaphus sp.
  22. 22. Nearctic Region- Amphibia – Common frogs – Toads – Hylid tree frog
  23. 23. Nearctic Region- Birds • 49 families of which 39 widely distributed • Less differentiated avifauna than neighbouring regions • Wood warblers – throughout temperate N. America • Several distinctive genera of grouse Wood Warblers. Grouse.
  24. 24. Nearctic Region- Birds • Similarity with Neotropical region (their original home) – Bright red cardinals – Tanagers – Humming Birds Bright Red Cardinals. Tanagers. Humming Bird.
  25. 25. Nearctic Region- Birds • Exclusive Bird – Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)
  26. 26. Nearctic Region- Birds • Some including many migratory ones are shared with central and south America • Some especially northward shared with Palearctic region • Some are endemic
  27. 27. Nearctic Region- Fishes • A few ancient and endemic families • Garpike, Lepisosteus (with covering of thick scales) and Bowfin (Amia calva)– only living members of group Holostei Garpike. Bowfin Gar pike Bowfin
  28. 28. Nearctic Region- Fishes • Mooneye (Hiodon tergisus)and Bass families –exclusive Spotted Bass Moon Eye
  29. 29. Nearctic Region- Fishes • Many carps and perches American Carp Yellow Perch
  30. 30. Nearctic Region-Overview • Similarity With palearctic region – Fauna complex of tropical and temperate families (as both the regions are north temperate and have land connections with tropical regions). – Fauna as a whole much less rich than the tropical regional fauna and is mainly transitional and with few important groups of its own except of freshwater fishes.
  31. 31. Nearctic Region-Overview • Dissimilarity With palearctic region – nearctic richer in reptiles & has more endemic fam, – Fauna combination of new-world tropical and old world temperate
  32. 32. Nearctic Region-Overview • In Nearctic, vertebrates are most numerous in favourable southern areas and fauna diminishes progressively northward until it is reduced to a small arctic fauna. • East-west differentiation- – Most fw fishes and turtles concentrated east of rocky mts – Salamanders more numerous in the east than in the west – Relatively more snakes in the east and more lizards in the west – Birds as a whole, dominant mammals other than rodents and some families and genera of other classes show much less east-west differentiation.
  33. 33. Nearctic Region-divisions • Wallace divided Nearctic into 4 subdivisions that corresponds to different climatic and vegetational areas – Northern one extending across continent – Eastern (Below northern one) – A west Central (Rocky mts etc.) – Pacific Coast (California one)

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