what is fauna

fauna is he set of animals that inhabit a region at a certain time or period. Thus, when talking about the fauna of Costa Rica, reference is made to all the animals that can be found in that country. In the case of the Neolithic fauna, they are all the animals that lived during that period of prehistory.

Fauna is characteristic of biomes and depends on environmental conditions. For example, the fauna of the hot desert is adapted to living with little water and taking refuge during the hottest hours.

There are biomes characterized by a great diversity in their fauna, such as the tropical forest and marine reefs. Zoogeography is responsible for studying the distribution of animals on the globe and the causes that determine it.

specimens of wildlife

Specimens of the native wildlife of the African continent.

types of fauna

Wildlife: are the animals that live, feed and thrive in their ecosystem, independent of humans. For example, the characteristic wildlife of the jungle are herbivores such as elephants, zebras and giraffes and carnivores such as lions and tigers.

wildlife in captivity: These are the wild animals that have been captured and are kept confined in artificial facilities. This is the classic example of the animals we see in zoos and aquariums.

domestic fauna of a farm dogs chicks lamb piglets

Human beings have domesticated a great diversity of animals for their own benefit.

Fdomestic room: these animals were “tamed” by humans, altering their evolutionary pattern, for their own benefit. We use them for food, clothing, shoes, and as pets. For example, the domestic fauna of a farm is made up of dogs, cats, rabbits, cows, chickens, pigs, sheep, goats, horses, among others.

terrestrial faunaThey are the animals that live on the surface of the Earth. This includes most mammals, insects, birds and reptiles.

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maritime fauna: formed by animals that inhabit seas, lakes, rivers and oceans. Here we find fish, some mammals such as whales and dolphins, mollusks, crustaceans and corals, among others.

marine fauna fish of various colors in a coral

Coral reefs are home to a highly diverse marine fauna.

native fauna: or native fauna are the animals established in a region for many generations. For example, the tapir (tapirus terrestris), the capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) and the guacharaca (Ortalis ruficauda) are native animals of South America.

exotic wildlife: or non-native fauna are the species of animals that do not belong to a region, that have arrived there through the voluntary and involuntary activity of the human being.

This is the case of hippos (Hippopotamus amphibius), a species native to Africa, which was introduced to Colombia in 1985. It currently represents a problem for the native communities of the Magdalena River, in northern Colombia.

Fauna Characteristics

  • Depends on biotic and abiotic factors: The fauna of a region is a consequence of the environmental conditions and of the other living beings that inhabit a region. For example, the desert has characteristic fauna that could not survive in the tundra or forest.
  • it’s dynamic: The fauna develops in open systems, which is why they are affected by changes in environmental conditions. For example, migratory birds move from one hemisphere to another according to the seasons of the year.
  • is adaptable: when alterations occur in the habitats, the fauna can adapt to the new conditions.

Fauna and Flora

flora and fauna a ladybug on a grass

The flora of a region determines the fauna that can develop in it.

While the fauna refers to the animal species of a region, the flora It is the set of plant species that exist in a certain area or are characteristic of a certain geological period.

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The fauna of a biome depends mainly on the flora existing in it. Thus we have that the flora of the desert, adapted to the conditions of high temperatures and little precipitation, are the only food that the animals of that area can obtain.

See also Flora, Biome, Ecosystem, Desert, Forest.


Monsalve B., S., Ramírez G., A. (2018) Current status of hippos (Hippopotamus amphibius) in Colombia: 2018. CES Veterinary Medicine and Zootechnics 13: 338-346. DOI: 10.21615/cesmvz.13.3.4

Gallina Tessaro, S., López G., C (editors) (2014) Manual of techniques for the study of fauna. Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources. Mexico.