Animals of Tropical Grasslands Ecosystems
All of the animal species that live in tropical grasslands are adapted to conditions of intense sunlight, high temperatures and limited water. Some physical adaptations include light colored or partially white coats that reflect light, panting instead of sweating, and reduced urine output and increased absorption of water by the intestines to minimize water loss. Smaller mammals tend to be nocturnal, staying underground during the heat of the day and emerging after dark to look for food.
The animals that live in tropical grasslands ecosystems vary according to location, although some species of invertebrates, such as termites, are found in tropical grasslands throughout the world. Described below are some of the significant animal species found in the three main tropical grasslands ecosystems.
Africa- African tropical grasslands are noted for the large number of species of browsing and grazing mammals. Hoofed mammals include water buffalo, antelope, impala, eland, oryx and wildebeest. Other species of herbivores include elephant, rhino, zebra, giraffe and hippopotamus. These herbivores provide food for large carnivores such as lions, leopards, cheetahs and panthers. In addition to these large mammals, the African savanna is populated by numerous other creatures including bats, insectivores such as pangolins and aardvarks, small carnivores such as jackals and weasels, and a wide variety of small mammals and birds.
South America- The tropical grasslands in South America include the llanos, areas in river basins that become flooded periodically, and cerrado, the high table lands of Brazil. The llanos have a particularly high level of biodiversity. Some animals living in the llanos include capybaras, caimans and armadillos. The Brazilian cerrado occupies over 2 million square km (770,000 sq mi). There are hundreds of species of trees and shrubs, as well as armadillos, monkeys, opossums, and many rodents and birds, including the flightless rhea. The largest carnivore in the cerrado is the lobo guara, or maned wolf.
Australia- Only one carnivore, the dingo, is native to Australia. Large mammals in the Australian tropical grasslands ecosystem consist of marsupials including wallabies, wallaroos and bandicoots. The Australian tropical savanna is also home to the emu, a large flightless bird, as well as many small mammals, reptiles and birds including parrots, cockatoos and lorakeets.