Ecuador Fauna and Flora

By | December 14, 2021

Fauna. – The fauna of Ecuador has a purely neotropical character. Numerous platyrrine monkeys such as varî Cebus, Lagotrix, the common reddish howler monkey (Mycetes seniculus), some Hapale, etc. There are many bats belonging to the region. Insectivores are missing, a fact common to all the neotropical fauna. Carnivorous, artiodactyls, including the Guanaco (Lama guanacus) easily domesticable, the peccaries replacing the pigs that are missing in South America, the American tapir, numerous gnawingers, chinchillas, armadillos and anteaters. Vary the bird life with graceful fly birds, condors, wonderful parrots. Many poisonous reptiles and snakes (Crotals, Elapsids); amphibians, fish and innumerable forms of insects, spiders, molluscs and other invertebrates.

Flora – In Ecuador, five well-characterized zones can be distinguished in respect of the vegetation.

Arid region of the coast along the sea training of mangoes (nitida Avicennia, A. Tomentosa) with genres conocarpus Laguncularia, etc.: in the salty land of this area there is a rich vegetation and alofitica among the plants that we can grow here remember the very poisonous manzanillo (Hippomane mancinella), coconut, etc. In the brackish savannahs the vegetation is scarce, in the others we find abundant grasses, bushes of thorny plants, cacti and woods consisting of Ceiba, Erythrina in which Guaiacum officinale, Vitex gigantea, Caesalpinia are found, etc. Among the shrubs and fruit trees there are Croton, Rhamnus guayaquilensis, Zizyphus thyrsiflora, Malvacee (Sida, Malva, Hibiscus, Gossypium), Bitneriacee, Rubiacee and Leguminosae. Among the parasites there are few Lorantaceae on the trees of the savannahs (Oryctanthus ruficaulis, Psitacanthus mexicanus, Phtyrusa Magdalenae); among the epiphytes Bromelia and Tillandsia, some orchids including Epidendrum asperum, Oncidium papilio and the magnificent Cattleya maxima. The vegetation develops luxuriantly from the first rains, which begin at the beginning of the year, until June, then the drought takes over and in September everything is arid and deserted.

Humid coastal region: pure tropical characters are observed here. The savannahs of Baba, Babahoyo and Pueblo Viejo have pastures of gigantic grasses (Paspalum, Panicum), there are thorny trees and fruit trees: mimosas, Papilionaceae, Cesalpiniacee, Piperaceae and arboreal compotes; the edges of the woods and rivers are covered by impenetrable vegetable walls 5-6 m high. of various thorny and prickly plants. Here is the royal palm (Cocos butyracea), the most beautiful in Ecuador; pambil (Iriartea sp.) is another very elegant palm; They belong to the same kinds Bactris, Euterpe, Guilielma (G. speciosa with clusters of sour fruits), Phytelephas. Among the useful plants grow or cultivate: Jambosa vulgaris, Anacardium Ovest, mate, papaya, cocoa (Theobroma bicolor), vanilla, sarsaparilla, Krameria triandra. For Ecuador 2001, please check naturegnosis.com.

Region of the Andean wet forests: here we can distinguish a tropical zone up to 1600 m. and another subtropical up to 3000 m .; there is constant humidity due to continuous rains. In the first area Scitaminee, Palms, Clusiacee, gigantic Araceae, Epiphytic Ferns predominate; Orchids are scarce; in the second zone the living Cinchona (C. succirubra, Condaminea, pubescens, rotundifolia, etc.); today, however, the local production of cinchona bark has no importance. A magnificent vegetation of plants with showy flowers exists in the woods between 2000 and 3000 m: fuchsias, gloxinias, Lobeliacee, Orchidaceae of the gen. Odontoglossum and Masdeoallia. Among the palms there is the Ceroxylon andicola. In the eastern slopes of the Andes we can also distinguish two zones: one tropical or low, the other subtropical or high: here we find Copernicia cerifera, Eriodendron, the Hymenaea, which give the copal, the Copaifera, which supply the copaive balsam, the Strychnos toxifera which gives a kind of curare and Banisteria caapi, an amazing plant.

Inter-Andean region: it extends between 2000 and 3,400 m .; there are vast plateaus at mild temperatures where cereals are grown. There are no woods, long destroyed, except on the most inaccessible slopes of the high valleys. The area is very exploited and sterile because it has been cultivated since the time of the Incas. European plants grow in the haciendas: in the vast expanses there are few trees (Prunus salicifolia, Salix Humboldtiana, Betula acuminata), numerous shrubs; in arid lands: Cereus sepium, Opuntia tuna, Agave, Fourcroya, Schinus mollis, Prosopis horrida whose branches are covered with tufts of Tillandsia. Between 3000-3400 m. there is a rich vegetation which constitutes the residue of the destroyed Andean one; Oncidium nubigenum grows on the dwarf trees of the extreme limit of the region. All European vegetables are also grown here.

Andean region: it is between 3400-4600 m. and there are points of contact with the European alpine flora. Huge areas for hundreds of miles are covered by Stipa Ichu, Andropogon, Paspalum. The arboreal vegetation ceases at 3500 m., Exceptionally on the Antisana volcano the Chusquea aristata goes up to 4000 m. and on the Chimborazo there are groves of Polylepis at 4200 m. At 4500 m. there is an alpine flora characterized by gentians, Acaena, valerians, Malvastrum, etc. Above 4600 m. grasses are rare and the ground is covered with lichens (Stereocaulon); wrath the few phanerogams: Culcitium nivale, C. rufescens, Valeriana alypifolia and Pernettya angustifolia. Ecuador belongs to the floristic kingdom of tropical South America and the Andean subtropics.

Ecuador Fauna