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Simplified schematic of an island's fauna - all its animal species, highlighted in boxes.
Fauna is all of the animal life of any particular region or time. The corresponding term for plants is flora.

Zoologists and paleontologists use fauna to refer to a typical collection of animals found in a specific time or place, e.g. the "Sonoran Desertmarker fauna" or the "Burgess shalemarker fauna".

Paleontologists sometimes refer to a sequence of faunal stages, which is a series of rocks all containing similar fossils.

The name comes from Fauna, a Roman fertility and earth goddess, the Roman god Faunus, and the related forest spirits called Fauns. All three words are cognates of the name of the Greek god Pan, and panis is the Greek equivalent of fauna. Fauna is also the word for a book that catalogues the animals in such a manner. The term was first used by Linnaeus in the title of his 1747 work Fauna Suecica.

Subdivisions of fauna

Infauna

Infauna are aquatic animals that live within the bottom substratum rather than on its surface. Bacteria and microalgae may also live in the interstices of bottom sediments. In general infaunal animals become progressively smaller and less abundant with increasing water depth and distance from shore.

Epifauna

Epifauna, also called epibenthos, are aquatic animals that live on the bottom substratum as opposed to within it, that is, the benthic fauna that live on top of the sediment surface at the seafloor.

Macrofauna

Macrofauna are benthic or soil organisms which are retained on a 0.5mm sieve. Studies in the deep sea define macrofauna as animals retained on a 0.3mm sieve to account for the small size of many of the taxa.

Megafauna

Megafauna are large animals of any particular region or time. For example, Australian megafauna.

Meiofauna

Meiofauna are small benthic invertebrates that live in both marine and fresh water environments. The term Meiofauna loosely defines a group of organisms by theirsize, larger than microfauna but smaller than macrofauna, rather than a taxonomic grouping. One environment for meiofauna is between grains of damp sand (see Mystacocarida).

In practice these are metazoan animals that can pass unharmed through a 0.5 – 1 mm mesh but will be retained by a 30 – 45 μm mesh, but the exact dimensions will vary from researcher to researcher. Whether an organism passes through a 1 mm mesh also depends upon whether it is alive or dead.

Mesofauna

Mesofauna are macroscopic soil invertebrates such as arthropods, earthworms, and nematodes.

Microfauna

Microfauna are microscopic or very small animals (usually including protozoans and very small animals such as rotifers).

Other

Other terms include avifauna, which means "bird fauna" and piscifauna (or ichthyofauna), which means "fish fauna".

Fauna treatises

Classic faunas



See also



References



External links


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