flora and fauna
Rising between the Atlantic and Pacific as part of the land bridge from
North to South America, Costa Rica lies in a region unique in the world, between
two continents and two oceans. This species-rich land is home to plants and
animals from both North and South America as well as to species indigenous and
exclusive to Costa Rica. They exist in a variety of habitats: tropical dry and
seasonally deciduous forests, rain forests, cloud forests, mangrove swamps,
oceans, coral reefs, rivers, and paramos (high,cold, humid landscapes). Costa
Rica is the northern limit for Andean paramo vegetation.
This small country, which covers less than three ten-thousandths of the Earth's
surface, is home to 5 percent of all the plant and animal species
known to exist. As a matter of fact, species are still being discovered in the
country's rich mix of tropical habitats. The National Biodiversity Institute
(INBio) has begun a multiyear project to discover and catalog all plant and
animal species found in the country
Some scientists believe that as many as a half-million species exist in Costa
Rica, among them a number of endemic species, those species not found anywhere
else in the world: five species of mammals, six of birds 41 amphibians, 24 reptiles,
and 16 species of freshwater fish.
With such a wealth of flora and fauna, it is difficult to highlight only a few.
This articale includes some of the most common species, ones you might expect
to encounter as you explore. The English name for each is followed by the scientific
name in parenthesis and the name in Spanish.
MONKEY BUSINESS - Four
species of monkeys liveing in Costa Rica.
THREE-TOED SLOTH -
Sloths usually move slowly, but no, they do not spend their lives in a single
RESPLENDENT QUETZAL -Quetzal
The name is exotic. The bird is exotic. A member of the trogon family, the resplendent
quetzal was a symbol of freedom and independence to some indigenous Central
American peoples. It thrives in Costa Rica
SCARLET MACAW -Flock after
flock of spectacular red, blue, and gold scarlet macaws squawk overhead on their
return from forested feeding places to communal roosting sites in mangroves
along the Pacific coast.
HUMMINGBIRDS -The iridescent
colors of these small New World birds delight and mystify observers.
SEA TURTLES - Six of the world's
eight species of sea turtles nest on Costa Rica's
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