The Marsupials and Other Australian Animals
Physiological adaptation and ecological interactivity are the main sustaining characteristics why Australian wildlife is unique and diverse. The marsupials are the most widespread among the animals in Australia, with 142 species occupying the continent's vast territories. The most famous and common under the marsupial species are the: kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, wombats, bandicoots and the famed Tasmanian Devil.
These mammals have found ideal existence in isolated territories by adapting to their habitats according to their preferred foods. Kangaroos, possums, and koalas relate to plants while pygmy possums are to nectars. The planigales and quolls find meat, while Tasmanian Devils have a penchant for carrions or grossly put, the rotting flesh of dead animals. Some marsupials, like the bandicoots are less hard to please because they are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plant and meat.
The wide desert floors may be bare on the surface but underneath, there are burrows filled with creatures, buried eggs, and seeds that are waiting for heavy rains to fall.
The reason why creatures prefer to be underground is that they find it much cooler here than on the surface. Underground habitats have 40% more moisture, which renders their enclaves beneath ten degrees cooler.
While in the desert, most Australian animals get their water from the food they eat, usually insects, roots, and seeds. Reptiles have special heat sensing organs for detecting warm-blooded prey. They stay burrowed during the day and look for food at night to conserve moisture and energy.
Ecological interactions between Australia’s wildlife play an important factor in maintaining life sustainability. Some birds take care of the seed dispersal, pollination and providing of protection. In some cases, ants protect the caterpillar in exchange for sugary secretion derived from the leaves of mistletoe trees. In fact, ants are also responsible for dispersing seeds into numerous plants especially in the arid areas.
In rain forests, frogs called “poison dart" frogs have highly toxic skin so larger animals will avoid eating them. The native tribes in those areas use the frog’s skin to tip their arrows with poison, for ease of hunting.
To avoid snakes and lizards that prey on them, the mammals in these parts of Australia live mostly in the trees. Thus,the snakes adapted themselves to climb trees in search of prey. For example, the green and the brown tree snakes have scales textured and curved backward, to grip the bark of the trees that they climb.
Plants attract smaller insects to feed on their foliage until bigger creatures that are of more aggressive forms will arrive to feed on the smaller ones. In other cases, certain seeds chewed on by some vertebrates will allow faster germination for the plant.
The mangrove areas are very important in the preservation of the migratory birds in the world, as most of the Northern birds come here to breed during winter. Hence, Australia takes great pride in preserving large areas of tallest and highly developed mangroves.
Based on Australian statistics, 75% of the commercially caught fish are in these parts because fish life are dependent on food chains found in mangroves; hence, biodiversity in these areas have made fishing relatively easy.
The biodiversity in Australia is very interesting; as quaint marsupials and plants native to Australia have become symbols and icons of environmental sustainability recognized worldwide.
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