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many tropical regions of the world,exist today jungles or
tropical rainforests. We will take a journey into the jungle,
exploring and discovering plant and animal life as well
as people who live in the jungle.
Locating a Tropical Rainforest
rainforests are located in a band around the equator (Zero
degrees latitude), mostly in the area between the Tropic
of Cancer (23.5° N latitude) and the Tropic of Capricorn
(23.5° S latitude). This 3,000 mile (4800 km) wide band
is called the "tropics."
equator is an imaginary circle around the earth, halfway
between the north and south poles. Temperatures at the equator
are high. These high temperatures cause accelerated evaporation
of water, which results in frequent rain in forested areas
in the tropics. The rain averages to about 80 to 400 inches
a year.Temperatures can get over 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
are rainforests in South and Central America, Africa, Oceania
(the islands around Australia), and Asia. Tropical rainforests
cover only about 7% of the Earth's surface.
these jungles are located near the hot equator and have immense
rainfall, vegetation grow fast. The jungle is packed with
tall stretching trees, vines hanging among the trees and other
exotic plants on the jungle floor. Jungle Vegetation can be
grouped into 4 layers ,at each layer you find a particular
species of plant and animal life existing.
The tops of the tallest trees are called the emergent
layer. In a Rainforest, trees, shrubs and plants of every
kind struggle to reach the light. Emergent trees are very
top heavy and have almost no side branches below the canopy.They
can be as tall as 200 feet above the forest floor with
their trunks being up to 16 feet around. Scarlet Macaws,
toucans and other birds live in the emergent layer, with
butterflies and many other insects
This is the primary layer of the forest and forms a kind
of umbrella over the other layers. Most canopy trees have
smooth, oval leaves that form a point. The canopy forms
maze of leaves and branches which are intertwined and
have many creepers hanging from them. Many animals live
in this area since food is abundant. Those animals include:
snakes, toucans, monkeys and treefrogs. Wrapped around
many of these tree trunks are lianas which are is a type
woody plants that stretch from the ground and use other
plants as support so that they can reach the light coming
through the canopy.
Little sunshine reaches this area so the plants have to
grow larger leaves to reach the sunlight. The plants in
this area seldom grow to 12 feet.It is home to thousands
of plants, insects and birds Many animals live here including
jaguars, red-eyed tree frogs and leopards. There is a
large concentration of insects here like Army ants, and
bees.It is also very dark and wet, so the trees here don't
grow very tall. Epiphytes are plants which perch on or
stick to other plants. They collect water in a variety
of ways from rain and get nutrients from organic matter.
Mosses, lichens, orchids, ferns, elkhorns, staghorns,
and bird nest ferns are Epiphytes that grow in the Understory.
This is the darkest of the layers. Almost no plants grow
in this area, as a result and it is often hot and steamy.
Since hardly any sun reaches the forest floor things begin
to decay quickly. A leaf that might take one year to decompose
in a regular climate will disappear in 6 weeks. The soil
is hidden beneath a thin layer of rapidly rotting leaves,
twigs and dead flowers fomr the tress above .Fungi and
animals and insects like ants and termites as well as
worms break down this thin layer .Giant anteaters live
in this layer as well can u figure out why?
in the Jungle
What is a habitat?
A habitat is the place where a population lives. A population
is a group of living organisms of the same kind living in
the same place at the same time. Within each layer animal
are specially adapted to live there. For example in the canopy
monkeys can use arms and legs and sometimes even tails to
swing from branch to branch; birds such as parrots have specialized
feet with two curling front toes and two curling back toes
to help them hang on to branches.In the Understory as well
snakes such as boa constrictors spend their days curled around
branches or vines. On the Forest floor a jaguars spots
help them to be better hunters by making them hard to see
among the speckled shadows of the rain forest floor.Below
is a typical food web that can exist in a jungle. Follow the
arrows closely to see how they are connected.
are indeed "rulers" over the flies and other
insects that form their typical prey. The species name
is a Latin word meaning "hairy," a description
which probably refers to the crest of this species.Feeding
high in the canopy, this species "hawks" not
only flies, but also beetles, butterflies, grasshoppers,
crickets, bees, and katydids. Great Crested Flycatchers
also glean insects from tree bark and feed on small
fruits as well
found in South America as well as many other parts of
the world. Near water source such as swamps.
Some crocodiles lie with their mouths open and allow
birds to safely pick food particles and parasites from
their teeth and gums.
Found mainly in the Amazon rainforest in the Canopy
and understory layer. Has a diet mainly of Rats, lizards,
chickens, many other mammals, and birds. They eat vertebrates
only.The boa "constricts" its food. They will
wait for days near their prey's home, waiting for the
perfect time to ambush it. They are very "choosy"
about their food.Their teeth are sharp and they usually
"sink" them into their prey just before constricting.
Swallows its prey whole by using a system of ligaments
and muscles (cartilage) in its jaws.
Armadillo is a cat-sized, armored, insect-eating mammal.
Similar in form to an anteater, the bony, scaled shell
of the armadillo protects it from attacks by predators.
Unfortunately, armadillos often fall victim to automobiles
and are frequently found dead on roadsides.
prolific digger, armadillos dig many burrows, as well
as dig for food. Distribution is often determined
by soil conditions, since the animal will not survive
in areas where the soil is too hard to dig. Many other
wildlife species use and benefit from these abandoned
occasionally considered a nuisance by home owners,
the armadillo's habit of digging up lawns is driven
by its appetite for grubs, which can also harm lawns.
Tree Boa Found mainly in the Amazon rainforest in the
Canopy and understory layer. Has a diet mainly of Rats,
lizards, chickens, many other mammals, and birds. They
eat vertebrates only. The boa "constricts"
its food. They will wait for days near their prey's
home, waiting for the perfect time to ambush it. They
are very "choosy" about their food.Their teeth
are sharp and they usually "sink" them into
their prey just before constricting. Swallows its prey
whole by using a system of ligaments and muscles (cartilage)
in its jaws.
can be found in the canopy and emergent layers from
Mexico to the Amazon Rainforest.
Their diet is largely one of seeds from fruits, nuts,
and clay as a source of calcium. Sometimes fruits. Their
main enemy is the Harpy Eagle
are ground-inhabiting, social insects that live in colonies.
A colony or nest of termites may be up to 18-20 feet
below the soil surface to protect it from extreme weather
conditions. Although termites are soft-bodied insects,
their hard, saw-toothed jaws work like shears and are
able to bite off extremely small fragments of wood,
a piece at a time.
in the rainforests close to rivers Most of Central America
and parts of South America. They have very sticky toes
which are like suction cups. Red-eyed tree frogs can
grow up to 3 inches. Most of its life is spent in the
rainforest canopy, but they do swim, and are excellent
swimmers. Red-eyed tree frogs eat many insects and are
an important part of the rainforest food web chain.
in the dense tropical forest, swamps, and open country
and the Understorey layer of rainforest. Diets mainly
on grown animals (loves peccaries, capybara, sloth,
tapir, deer, monkeys), cattle, fish, frogs, turtles
and small gators. Loves meat and will eat almost anything.
They are moving towards being an endangered animal because
of habitat destruction and poaching. They are excellent
climbers, but usually stalk their prey on the ground.
have an excellent sense of smell and good hearing. They
look like a cross between a pig and an elephant. Some
people say they look like huge rats. There are 4 species
of tapirs (3 in Central and South America, 1 in Southeast
Asia).Can Grow up to 8 feet in length. And can be found
in the dense forest.
can be found in the South and Central American Rainforests
on the forest floor .They
are usually about 8mm to 12mm in length and they live
in a colony which can consist of a fleet of about 700,000
They are decomposers. Diets mainly on wasps, leaf cutter
ants, some animals, some insects. Anything in their
path. Its enemies are :termites, other insects and birds.
They can devour a horse in a matter of hours.
in thick rainforests of West central Africa, southern
Cameroon, equatorial New Guinea, Gabon, Congo. Mandrills
are sometimes found in large groups of 100 or more.
When startled and angry they will snarl, which appears
like a "yawn". They grow up to 3 feet tall.
Males (around 55 pounds) are bigger than females (around
30 pounds).Hunted for their fur, and kidney stones for
medicine. Mandrill babies open their eyes at birth.
can be found in the Canopy layer of Amazon Rainforest.
Their main enemies are the anaconda, jaguar and the
Hapry Eagle. They have an image of laziness and inactivity
and they can fall asleep upside down. It's hard for
the sloth to walk on the ground because of the shape
of their toes and fingers.
are found in the lowland rainforests and palm groves.
Their bill is frightening to other birds and small animals.
They have 2 toes forward and 2 toes backwards. This
gives them an excellent grip on trees. Their tongue
is feathered. They are family to the woodpecker.
global coverage by rain forests is reduced each year by
human activities in order to support things such as agriculture,
mineral resource exploitation, the hardwood lumber industry
For one thing,rainforests are large enough to provide a
safe haven for all of their indigenous species. One major
reason is that the plants in the forest turn carbon dioxide
into clean air, which helps us fight pollution. Also, by
absorbing carbon dioxide, the rainforests help deter the
greenhouse effect. The trees of the rainforest store carbon
dioxide in their roots, stems, branches, and leaves.
plants and animals of the rainforest also provide us with
food, fuel wood, shelter, jobs, and medicines. Twenty-five
percent of the active ingredients in today's cancer-fighting
drugs come from organisms found only in the rainforest.
than half of the world's estimated 10 million species of
plants, animals and insects live in the tropical rainforests.
One-fifth of the world's fresh water is in the Amazon Basin.