In the world we can find several types of ecosystems, depending on the different bioclimatic characteristics that are differentiated by their ecological conditions, as well as the vegetation and animals that compose it. In this way, we can find both marine and terrestrial biomes, such as tundra, temperate forests, deserts, savannas and grasslands.
Prairie Ecosystem: What is it?
The prairie is a type of biome that has very peculiar characteristics, defined by its climate, vegetation and fauna. This biome is found in various areas of the planet, such as South Africa, South America and North America, especially in countries such as Australia, Argentina or Central Eurasia.
In simple terms, we can find certain similarities between the climate of the prairies and some wooded and desert areas, since, although rainfall is scarce, there is a great diversity of species . If you want to learn more about this type of biome, we recommend this other article on The importance of biodiversity in grasslands .
Types of grasslands
There are two types of grassland biome , which we define below:
- Tropical grassland: this type of grassland can be found in Australia and Africa. It is characterized because it has only two seasons, one of them short, with very abundant rainfall and the other longer, with very little rainfall. A great diversity of species coexists in the tropical prairie, so that on the African continent you can find animals such as leopards, lions, zebras and giraffes, while on the African continent we can find kangaroos , emus and uombats.
- Temperate prairie: these prairies are located in countries such as Asia, Argentina and North America. They have high temperatures in summer and low in winter, with an average rainfall that can range from 25 to 75 cubic mm of water. In the temperate prairie we can find one of the rarest species in the world, the saiga antelope , as well as many other species such as marmots, gazelles and a great variety of rodents.
Prairie Animals: List and Information
As we have mentioned before, a great variety of animals coexist in the grasslands. These are some of the best known prairie animals :
- Foxes: These mammals are one of the easiest animals to find in this type of biome. They are characterized by having a wide head and ears of considerable size compared to the rest of their body.
- Barn Owls: They are nocturnal birds similar to owls, which inhabit the prairies, feeding mainly on mice, smaller birds and insects.
- Ducks: it is another of the bird species that can be found in this biome, they are generally located in the most humid areas. They feed on larvae and worms.
- Weasels: they are small mammals that have an elongated, flexible and slender body. They tend to have a very aggressive character and great hunting skills.
- Deer: they are one of the largest mammals that we can find in these biomes. They have large and long horns.
- Bison: they are the largest land animals in America. They generally have a calm character although they can adopt more aggressive skills if they feel threatened.
- Cows: these animals, considered as domestic, graze on large areas of grass, such as meadows, and there are several species.
- Goats: these are animals also considered domestic and that graze in areas such as meadows. However, some species live in the mountains and even at very high altitudes.
- Armadillos: this species draws a lot of attention due to its peculiar characteristics, since it shares traits typical of reptiles and mammals.
- Meerkats: Meerkats are small mammals similar to weasels. They have an elongated and slender body with light and sparse fur. They are characterized by being very restless and agile animals.
- Prairie dogs: They live in prairies and steppes, mainly in Mexico and some areas of North America. They are rodents that live in communities and in burrows.
- Horses: these large herbivores live in areas such as meadows and steppes, traveling long distances. Today there are both domestic and wild.
The grasslands have a semi-arid climate , characterized by cold winters and hot summers. This variation in temperature also occurs in rainfall, therefore, the vegetation presents certain adaptations, being able to differentiate two stages in its development.
A first stage of dormancy, in which the vegetation hardly grows and develops, and a second stage of growth, in which the vegetation takes advantage of humidity and rainfall to develop. For all these reasons, the vegetation of the prairies located in the southern hemisphere is much greater and presents greater diversity and density than in the northern hemisphere. Some of the characteristic plant species of the prairies are:
- The reed beds.
- The sunflowers.