Fauna of the United States

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The Bald Eagle is the national bird of the United States and appears on the Great Seal. The Bald Eagle's range include all of the Contiguous United States and the State of Alaska.

The fauna of the United States of America is all the animals living in the Continental United States and its surrounding seas and islands, the Hawaiian Archipelago, Alaska in the Arctic, and several island-territories in the Pacific and in the Caribbean. The U.S. has arguably the most diverse fauna in the world and has many distinctive indigenous species found nowhere else on Earth. With most of the North American continent, the U.S. lies in the Nearctic faunistic realm, a region containing an assemblage of species similar to Northern parts of Africa and Eurasia.[1] An estimated 432 species of mammals characterize the fauna of the continental U.S.[2] More than 800 species of bird[3] and there are more than 100 000 known species of insects.[4] There are 311 known reptiles, 295 amphibians and 1154 known fish species in the U.S.[5] Known animals that exist in all of the Lower 48 include white-tailed deer, bobcat, raccoon, muskrat, striped skunk, barn owl, American mink, American beaver, North American river otter and red fox. The Red-tailed Hawk is one of the most widely distributed hawks not only in the U.S., but in the Americas.

Huge parts of the most beautiful parts of the country with the most distinctive indengious wildlife are protected as national parks. In 2013, the U.S. has more than 6770 national parks or protected areas, all together more than 1,006,619 sq. miles (2,607,131 km2).[6] The first national park was Yellowstone National Park in the State of Wyoming, established in 1872. Yellowstone National Park is widely considered to be the finest megafauna wildlife habitat in the U.S. There are 67 species of mammals in the park, including the gray wolf, the threatened lynx, and grizzly bears.[7]

Western United States[edit]

The Raccoon is widespread throughout all the Lower 48.
The American alligator is endemic to nine states in the Southeastern United States. The American alligator is the official state reptile of three states: Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

In the Western United States are mule deers, White-tailed antelope squirrels, cougars, American badgers, coyotes, hawks and several species of snakes and lizards are also common. While the American black bear lives throughout the U.S., the brown bears and grizzly bears are more common in the northwest and in Alaska. Along the West Coast are several species of whales, sea otters, California sea lions, eared seals and Northern elephant seals. In the dry, inland desert areas in states like California, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico are some of the world’s most venomous lizards, snakes and scorpions. The most notorious might be the gila monster lizard and the Mohave rattlesnake, both found in deserts such as the Sonoran Desert, the Mohave Desert and the Chihuahuan Desert in the Southwest United States. Along the southern border lives both jaguar and ocelots.

Channel Islands[edit]

The Channel Islands National Park consists of five out of the eight California Channel Islands. The Channel Islands are part of one of the richest marine biospheres of the world. Many unique species of plants and animals are endemic to the Channel Islands, including fauna such as the Island Fox, Channel Islands Spotted Skunk, Island Scrub Jay, Ashy Storm-petrel, Island fence lizard, Island Night Lizard, Channel Islands Slender Salamander, Santa Cruz sheep, San Clemente loggerhead shrike and San Clemente sage sparrow.[8] Other animals in the islands include the California sea lion, California moray, American Bald Eagle, Catalina Island bison herd and the Channel Islands spotted skunk.

Southern United States[edit]

In the Southern parts of the United States are animals such as the Virginia opossum, Collared peccary, ring-tailed cat, armadillos and the American alligator which lives in every coastal state between North Carolina and Texas. The less widespread American crocodile are only found in Southern Florida. The Alligator snapping turtle and more than forty other species of turtles are also found in the swampland of the Southern United States.

Central United States[edit]

In the American prairie in the Central United States lives mostly animals adapted for living in grasslands. Indigenous mammals include the American bison, Eastern cottontail, black-tailed jackrabbit, black-tailed prairie dog, muskrat, opossum, raccoon, prairie chicken, wild turkey, white-tailed deer, swift foxes, pronghorn antelope, the Franklin's ground squirrel and several other species of ground squirrels. Reptiles include bullsnakes, common collared lizard, common snapping turtle, musk turtles, yellow mud turtle, painted turtle, western diamondback rattlesnake and the prairie rattlesnake. Some of the typical amphibians found in the region are the Three-toed Amphiuma, Green toad, Oklahoma salamander, lesser siren and the plains spadefoot toad. In the Rocky Mountains and other mountainous areas of the inland is where the Bald Eagle is most observed, even though its habitat includes all of the Lower 48, as well as Alaska.

Eastern United States[edit]

In the Appalachian Mountains and the Eastern United States are many animals native to the forest. That includes for instance elks, deers, rabbits, rodents, squirrels, woodpeckers, owls, foxes and bears. The New England region is particularly famous for its crab and the American lobster live along most of the Atlantic Coast. The raccoon and skunk lives in every Eastern state, while the American alligator lives in every coastal state between North Carolina and Texas.

Hawaiian Islands[edit]

A green sea turtle ("Honu" in Hawaiian) swimming by coral reefs in Kona.

Much of the fauna in Hawai'i has developed special adaptations to their home and evolved into new species. Today, nearly 90% percent of the fauna in Hawai'i are endemic, meaning that they exist nowhere else on Earth.[9] Kauaʻi is home to the largest number of tropical birds, as it's the only island free of mongooses. The small Asian mongoose is widespread throughout the archipelago, except on the islands of Lanaʻi and Kauaʻi. Famous birds include ʻIʻiwi, Nukupu‘u, Kauaʻi ʻAmakihi and ʻŌʻū. The Hoary bat is found in the Koke'e State Park on Kauaʻi, wild horses live in the Waipio Valley, wild cattle by the Mauna Kea and the Australian brush-tailed rock-wallaby live by the Kalihi Valley on Oʻahu. The Hawaiian monk seal, wild goats, sheep and pigs live throughout most of the Archipelago. In Hawai'i, three species of sea turtles are considered native: Honu, Honu’ea and the Leatherback sea turtle. Two other species, the loggerhead sea turtle and the olive ridley sea turtle, are sometimes observed in Hawaiian waters.[10] The Hawaiian green sea turtle is the most common sea turtle in Hawaiian waters. As well as turtles, the sea life consist of more than forty species of shark[9] and the Hawaiian Spinner Dolphin is widespread. Hawaii's coral reefs are home to over 5000 species, and 25 percent of these are found nowhere else in the world.[11]

Alaska[edit]

Main article: Fauna of Alaska
Grizzley bears are found in all of Alaska, parts of Montana and on the Canadian border in Idaho. They're also found in Denali National Park and Yellowstone National Park.

The wildlife of Alaska is abundant, extremely diverse and includes for instance polar bears, puffins, moose, bald eagles, Arctic foxes, wolves, Canadian lynx, Muskox, Snowshoe Hare, mountain goats, walrus and caribou. Life zones in Alaska range from grasslands, mountains, tundra to thick forests, which leads to a huge diversity in terrain and geology throughout the state. Alaska has also over 430 species of birds and the largest population of bald eagles in the nation. From pygmy shrews that weigh less than a penny to gray whales that weigh 45 tons, Alaska is the "Last Frontier" for animals as well as people. Many species endangered elsewhere are still abundant in Alaska.

Aleutian Islands[edit]

The Aleutian Islands are home to an abundance of large bird colonies; more than 240 bird species inhabit in Alaska's Aleutian Archipelago.[12] Large seabird colonies are present on islands like Buldir Island, which has 21 breeding seabird species, including the Bering Sea-endemic Red-legged Kittiwake.[13] Large seabird colonies are also present on Kiska Island, Gareloi Island, Semisopochnoi Island, Bogoslof Island, and several others. The islands are also frequented by vagrant Asiatic birds, including the Common Rosefinch, Siberian Rubythroat, Bluethroat, Lanceolated Warbler, and the first North American record of the Intermediate Egret. Other animals in the Aleutian Chain include the Arctic fox, American mink, Porcupine caribou, Northern sea otter, Horned Puffin, Tufted Puffin, Steller sea lion, Spotted seal, Ringed seal, Northern fur seal and many more.[14]

Territories[edit]

The Blue-crowned Lorikeet is a parrot found throughout all of the Samoan islands.
The Brown tree snake is responsible for devastating the majority of the native wildlife in Guam.
The Mona ground iguana is the largest native terrestrial lizard in Puerto Rico and is an endangered species.

American Samoa[edit]

Because of its remote location, diversity among the terrestrial species is low. The Archipelago has a huge variety in Animals and more than 9,000 acres is a nationalpark: National Park of American Samoa. The park stretches over three of the six islands in the archipelago: Tutuila, Ofu-Olosega and Ta‘ū. Eight mammal species have been recorded at American Samoa, of which none of them are critically endangered.[15] The mammals include several species of native bats, including the Samoa flying fox and Insular flying fox. The avifauna includes 65 species of bird[16] where the more unusual distinctive ones are the Blue-crowned Lorikeet, the Spotless Crake, the Many-coloured Fruit Dove, the Wattled Honeyeater, tropical pigeons, the Samoan Starling, White Tern, Black Noddy and the Red-tailed Tropicbird.[17] There are many reptiles in the islands, including five species of geckos, eight species of skinks and two species of snakes: the Pacific boa and the Australoasian blindsnake.[18] The marine life is magnificent and much concentrated around the colorful coral reefs. The Samoan ocean is a home to sea turtles as Hawksbill sea turtle, Olive ridley sea turtle, leatherback sea turtle and the Green sea turtle. Five species of dolphins live in the area: Spinner dolphin, rough-toothed dolphin, Bottlenose dolphin, Pantropical spotted dolphin and striped dolphin.[18]

Virgin Islands[edit]

The Virgin Islands National Park covers approximately 60% of the Island of St. John and nearly all of Hassel Island. The national park has more than 140 species of birds, 302 species of fish, 7 species of amphibians and 22 species of mammals.[19] The tropical Virgin Islands are home to a huge variety of wildlife, including many unique species endemic to the archipelago. There are three species of sea turtles in the USVI that inhabit the local waters and utilize beaches for nesting: the green sea turtle, the hawksbill sea turtle and the leatherback sea turtle.[20] Several species of sharks, manatees and dolphins roam the seas.

Guam[edit]

Shorty after World War II, the brown tree snake was introduced to the island of Guam and caused much of the endemic wildlife to become extinct. Due to an abundance of prey species and lack of predators, the brown tree snake’s population exploded and reached nearly 13 000 snakes per square mile at most.[21] Ten out of twelve endemic bird species, ten lizards and two bats all became extinct as a result of the introduction of the brown tree snake. In recent years, a lot has been done by the U.S. government to decrease the number of brown tree snakes on the island. For instance in 2013, a $1million program by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service dropped more than 2000 mice filled with poison on the island.[22] In 2013, it is estimated to be more than two million brown tree snakes on the island.[22] Other introduced species include the Philippine deer, the Asiatic Water Buffalo, the Marine toad and the Giant African land snail.[21] Several native species of skinks, geckos and monitor lizards are still found on the island.

Northern Mariana Islands[edit]

The Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands is home to 40 indigenous and introduced bird species. Some endemic bird species are the Mariana Fruit Dove, the Mariana Swiftlet, the Rota White-eye, the Tinian Monarch, the Bridled White-eye and the Golden White-eye. Other common, but introduced species, include the Collared Kingfisher, the Rufous Fantail, the Fairy Tern and the Uniform Swiftlet. The Mariana fruit bat is endemic to both Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. The Sambar deer is the largest mammal and lives on several of the islands. The Monitor lizard, ranging up to 3 feet long, is also present on the island of Rota. The oceans are home to more than a thousand species of marine life,[23] including for instance the Coconut crabs, the Mahi-mahi, the Barracuda, Tridacna, Marlin and Tuna.

Puerto Rico[edit]

Main article: Fauna of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has 349 bird species, 83 mammals, 25 amphibians, 61 reptiles and 677 species of fish. Birds found nowhere else on earth include for instance the Puerto Rican Screech Owl, the Puerto Rican Woodpecker, the Puerto Rican Tody, the Green Mango, the Puerto Rican Emerald, the Puerto Rican Lizard Cuckoo, the Puerto Rican Nightjar and many more. All current endemic 13 land mammals are bats, which includes for instance the Greater bulldog bat, the Antillean ghost-faced bat and the Parnell's mustached bat. Extinct native mammals include the Plate-toothed giant hutia and the Puerto Rican Cave Rat. Reptiles unique to Puerto Rico include the Puerto Rican Boa, the Guanica Blindsnake, the Mona Island Iguana, the Puerto Rican Worm Lizard, the Puerto Rican Galliwasp and the Nichols’ Dwarf Gecko. Amphibians native to the island include the Puerto Rican Crested Toad, the Common Coqui, the Locust Coqui, the Wrinkled Coqui, the Forest Coqui, the Elfin Coqui and the Bronze Coqui. Endemic fish include the Puerto Rican Snake Eel and the Puerto Rico Coralbrotula.[24]

Articles by area[edit]

Insular areas[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ United States : Animal life - Britannica Online Encyclopedia
  2. ^ Flora and fauna - United States - growth, area
  3. ^ State of the Birds | National Audubon Society Birds
  4. ^ Insects
  5. ^ Number of Native Species in United States - Current Results
  6. ^ U.S. National Park Service - Experience Your America
  7. ^ Yellowstone Fact Sheet - Yellowstone National Park
  8. ^ C. Michael Hogan. 2008. Torrey Pine: Pinus torreyana, Globaltwitcher, ed. Nicklas Stromberg [1]
  9. ^ a b Hawaii fauna - the Hawaiian animals
  10. ^ Turtles in the Hawaiian Islands
  11. ^ Hawaii Animals
  12. ^ http://www.travelalaska.com/Destinations/Regions/Southwest/Aleutian%20Islands.aspx
  13. ^ http://www.mun.ca/serg/Buldir/buldirbirds.html
  14. ^ http://oceana.org/en/our-work/preserve-special-places/aleutian-islands/species-at-risk
  15. ^ This list is derived from the IUCN Red List which lists species of mammals and includes those mammals that have recently been classified as extinct (since 1500 AD). The taxonomy and naming of the individual species is based on those used in existing Wikipedia articles as of 21 May 2007 and supplemented by the common names and taxonomy from the IUCN, Smithsonian Institute, or University of Michigan where no Wikipedia article was available.
  16. ^ Watling, Dick (2001) A Guide to the Birds of Fiji & Western Polynesia, Environmental Consultants (Fiji), Suva
  17. ^ http://www.botany.hawaii.edu/basch/uhnpscesu/pdfs/NatHistGuideAS09op.pdf
  18. ^ a b http://www.nps.gov/npsa/naturescience/upload/mammals_reptiles_checklist-2.pdf
  19. ^ Animals - Virgin Islands National Park
  20. ^ Sea Turtles of the U.S. Virgin Islands
  21. ^ a b http://coris.noaa.gov/about/eco_essays/guam/fauna.html
  22. ^ a b http://edition.cnn.com/2013/02/28/us/guam-snake-drugs
  23. ^ http://www.odyssei.com/travel-tips/14276.html
  24. ^ http://lntreasures.com/pr.html