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Habitat and its occupants have evolved as the continents have changed since the dinosaurs. The vegetation or flora reflects the local climate. The fauna or animal life reflects the local plant and prey  food resources and the competition. The primary influences are temperature, as a result of altitude or latitude, and water availability. Species evolve within "islands" of habitat. Physically isolated islands produce the unique species.

Habitats can be broadly classified as; 

  • Temperate ​​

    • Coniferous forest​

    • Deciduous forest

    • Plains grassland 

  • Tropical

    • Rainforest

    • Grassland

  • Rivers

  • Oceans

  • Isolated ecosystems such as islands and poles

  • Deserts - with very limited wildlife.


Temperate wildland 

At high altitude or latitude, coniferous forest dominates.




At lower altitude or latitude, deciduous forest dominates, however agriculture has really reduced coverage in Europe. The apex forest occupants are bears. Forests are also home for many bird species and a few  small mammals such as squirrels, racoons, lynx, bobcats, coyote and foxes,

Temperate grassland or plains used to be home for huge herds of buffalo and their wolf predators.  Large scale agriculture now dominates in North America and Eastern Europe. 


Highland cloud  forest supporting  - Vinunga NP Rwanda  

Tropical rain forest is full of seeds and fruits.  Home of large primate omnivores such as gorillas and chimpanzees

Lowland Forest supporting  small primates - Ecuador Amazon.

At lower altitudes, smaller primates thrive such as howler monkeys.  Spectacular tropical birds also thrive.

Savannah supporting  herbivores - Botswana

Less water produces Savannah grasslands that support a wide variety of herbivores from Elephants to Wildebeest, Giraffes, and  Deer. In Africa these are the largest remaining wild habitats. 

Fresh water 

Rivers - Colorado River TX, Nile in Egypt.

At lower altitudes, slow moving rivers support local vegetation and prolific bird life.

Alluvial Plane - Okavambo Delta in Botswana, Missippi Delta.

When the river finally runs out, any eroded material is dropped creating meandering streams in a delta, and supports huge variety of birds.  Okavambo is a inland delta.

Ocean Habitats 

Polar Ice shelves

At the poles, ice forms at the oceans edge, and covers ocean and any low lying land.   In the north, polar bears live on seal. In the south, penguins live on the local fish. 

Cold water upwell  - Alaska

Close to the polar ice caps, the upwelling of nutrients supports millions of tons of Krill that in turn feeds everything from Baleen Whales to fish galore, and their predators.  In the shallows,  seaweed provides an ideal food and protected environment for crustaceans and predators such as sea otters. 

Cliffs - CA

The eroded cliff edges of the land produce beach sand that decorates the coasts around the world. Seabirds thrive on coastal cliffs.

Temperate Beaches - CA

Many marine mammals also rely on beaches to rear their young. Predators patrol beaches from the air and water to feast on the young.

Tropical Beaches -  Galapagos

Beaches form a critical role as a nursery for many egg laying species such as turtles.  

Coral in warm shallows  - Great Barrier Reef

Coral is symbiotic with bacteria that acts as food at the bottom of the pyramid. Coral is anchored to the shallow sea floor, so they act as  a  fixed point of concentrated food. This results in their role as a location of exceptional diversity. 

Isolated niche ecosystems


New Zealand

Flightless birds were New Zealands unique species, many were made extinct by humans and their invasive company.


Australia's isolation led to all sorts of unique animals including kangaroos, Koalas, and Duck billed platypus


The giant turtle is probably the most famous Galapagos resident, the home of Darwins breakthrough.

Borneo File photo, Papua New Guinea

Orangutan is one of many species unique to Borneo. PNG has many unique birds. 

Modern Life Habitats

Modern life has transformed much of the planet. Agriculture creates huge areas of monocultures that both destroys the local biome, and does not support the range of species needed for any healthy biome. Urban habitats tend to support a wide range of non-native foods.  Resourceful omnivores can flourish in urban habitats; squirrels, racoons, foxes, possums, mice and rats are all great examples. 


Todays habitats

A habitat is a combination of local geology, and fauna that provides food that allows certain species to thrive. 

The local geology can be classified by rock type and the subsequent process that it was exposed to. The rock types as noted above are; sandstone, metamorphic, volcanic, and erosion products. The key modifying processes are: Faulted, Eroded, and Recent Uplift.

The flora that thrives in any geology depends on the temperature and the availability of water. Trees need water, the species have different ability to survive freezing temperatures. 

In the tropical lowlands with no western mountains to make rain, deserts are dominant , with vegetation close to rivers (Egypt, American southwest). As soon as there is water, tropical rain forests appear (Amazon, Borneo). At high altitude, desert reappears such as Mt Kilimanjaro.   

In the mid latitudes the great temperate  plains support grasslands - and large scale farming; as in the Americas great plains (Yellowstone), African savannah (Botswana)  and Asia Steppes.  Increased water at altitude supports deciduous forest (Europe). 

Closer to the north pole, more hardy coniferous forest dominates (CA) which die out at lower altitude as you move north (Rockies). 

The fauna depends on the food type. Trees produce seeds in the form of seeds, fruits and nuts, a high calorie food for large omnivores such as primates and bears. 

Grasslands are low calorie food for large herds of herbivores such as deer, buffalo,  wildebeest. 

Industrial farming has created mono-culture deserts shrinking the available habitat. In regions that have been left undisturbed, you can still see the natural world in action.  Islands are isolated and evolve their own unique fauna. 

Ocean habitats

The ocean has a simpler range of habitats; deep or shallow, hot or cold. 


The basic plant life in the shallows that uses photosynthesis are; phytoplankton, algae, bacteria, and seaweed.  There is also basic life in deep water trenches at the tectonic plate growth boundaries. 


The primary consumers in the ocean are; coral, sea urchins, manatees, mussels, sea turtles, parrot fish, and zooplankton that include fish larvae, jelly fish, krill, segmented worms, and copepods.


Coral is anchored to the shallow sea floor, which acts a  fixed point of concentrated food. This results in role as a location of exceptional  diversity. 

Upwelling currents bring cold nutrient-rich waters from the ocean bottom to the surface, supporting many of the most important fisheries and ecosystems in the world. These currents support the growth of phytoplankton and seaweed which provide the energy base for consumers higher in the food chain. Krill is another major food source that thrives in cold water, and their larvae uses the ice pack for protection.  The Antarctic krill, makes up an estimated biomass of around 379 M tonnes,[2] making it among the species with the largest total biomass. Over half of this biomass is eaten by baleen whales (blue & humpback whales), seals, penguins, seabirds, squid, and fish each year. Whale migrations are timed to feed on the krill swarms. 

Secondary consumers are; clownfish,  herring, sardine, and lobster.

Tertiary consumers are; large fish like tuna, seals, turtles, dolphins, and moray eels.

Apex predators  include Great White Shark, Sperm Whale, and Killer Whale.


Survival requires enough food within a territory, a combination of enough offspring and effective strategies to protect  them, avoiding predation and means to avoid inbreeding.  Survival from  predation comes from size, stealth, accessibility, weapons. 

Unique species evolve within territories that are constrained by climate, food or geography, for example Howler Monkeys in South America, and Baboons in Southern Africa. The isolation can be highly localized as with Darwin's wrens in the Galapagos islands.

The common ancestor of the Howler and Baboon, had spread when South America and Africa were a connected in single continent around 60 My ago. The areas that today are primate free, were not connected to Africa when the early ancestors were spreading.  Australia isolated  for 100 My, has mostly marsupials with a few  late arriving mammals. New Zealand was limited to flightless birds until recently.  Borneo and Madagascar evolved unique primates. New volcanic islands such as Galapagos have no mammals, just recent arrivals by air or sea. 

Tropical rain forest is really the perfect habitat for the development of high intelligence such as in primates.  Living in the tree tops keeps most predators away, and the tropics  provide  food year round. The development of higher intelligence seems to be associated with a long time to maturation, and one child per birth focuses development resources. All of these require attentive parenting and few predators to ensure survival. The ability of the infants to hang on to and travel with mother in the early years is key. Large size is the other factor to dissuade predators. Primates evolved all the physical attributes of grip, muscularity, agility, and prehensile tails that are required to be a large tree dweller. 

Eutheria or Placentals

Mammals evolve into 3 groups ; Marsupials, Monotremes, and Placentals.

Placentals evolve into 3 groups led by ; Primates, Ruminants and Elephants.

Small mouse-like species appear in all 3 placental groups because the small mouse-like is the prototype mammal that all 3 groups are based on. The small mammal prototype evolved, when the world was dominated by huge dinosaurs, by being small enough to be overlooked. 



Large  tree living fruit  and nut eaters. Over 260 species.

  • Gorillas, Chimpanzees - Central  Africa mountain forest

  • Baboon, Ververt -  Botswana

  • (Venezuelan) Red Howlers, Spider - Equador Amazon

  • Black Howlers, Spider, Capuchin  - Costa Rica

  • Macaque - India, Japan (Snow), Thailand

  • Lemurs, Probiscus - Borneo

  • Snub nosed monkey - China to Vietnam

  • Marmosets, tamarins  - Brazil.

  • Tarsiers - Phillipines

Rodents & Rabbits 

Original mammal template from KT event. There are over 2000 rodent species. Smaller mammals have to be resourceful to survive, as size makes them a target for all predators; felines, canines, bears, birds of prey. They tend to have very large litters always a sign of poor survival chances.

Smaller mammals often living underground. Some rodents are considered keystone species and ecosystem engineers in their respective habitats; prairie dogs, beavers.  They are also opportunistic scavengers who thrive in urban environments and regarded as pests. They also prey on native species, their young, and eggs resulting in extinctions. Based on DNA - Rodents and Rabbit are grouped.

  • Squirrel  - tree dwellers

  • Rabbits 

  • Rat - particularly destructive invasive.

  • Mouse - genetic similarity  is why they are used in medical studies. 

  • Prarie dogs

  • Beavers

  • Capybara

  • Nutria


Herbivores - mostly ruminants 200 species.  

Share habitat with Canines and Cats. Prolific herd animals of the grasslands, universal prey. They often migrate to find the best food sources over the seasons, and avoid overgrazing by the huge herds.

  • Elk, Deer, Buffalo  - US prairie

  • Musk Ox,  Caribou, Elk, Moose - US tundra 

  • Reindeer - European Tundra

  • Antelope - 91 species (Kudu, Impala, Wildebeest, etc), Water Buffalo, Zebra, Giraffe. - African Savannah

  • Tapir - Amazon

  • Okapi - Africa Tropical rain forest

  • Elk, Deer - UK 

  • Horses, Zebra, Rhino


Omnivore residents of cooler temperate forests and grasslands. 

Most bears live far enough north that they hibernate in the winter to avoid food rather than migrate to find food. 

  • Giant Panda - Selective vegetarian tree dweller - China

  • Brown Bear - Vegetarian - US & Europe

  • Grizzly Bear - Omnivore (Salmon)  - US 

  • Polar Bears - Seal eaters - Arctic 

  • Spectacled bear - Amazon 

  • Honey Badger - closely related.


The universal ambush predator, found everywhere except recent isolated island ecosystems.  41 species.  

  • Lions - Africa

  • Leopards

  • Cheetah

  • Tiger - India 

  • Snow Leopards - Himalayas

  • Jaguar - Americas   diet of rodent capybara (Rodent)giant anteatermarsh deersouthern tamandua (anteater)collared peccary (pig)  and black agouti (Rodent).

  • Puma, Mountain Lion, Panther - Americas

  • Mt Lion  - N America

  • Lynx  - Europe

  • Civit -  Borneo

  • Jaguar - Amazon Tropical rain forest

  • Leopard - Africa Tropical rain forest

  • Domestic


Endurance predators that out run their prey in grasslands, and light forest. Chasers  are not successful in dense tropical rain forest.  37 species. 


  • Wolves - North

  • Wild dogs - Southern Africa

  • Hyenas - Southern Africa

  • Fox - Europe

  • Dingo - a feral from domesticated dogs arrived in  Australia  3500 Y ago.

  • Domestic

Small mammals similar to the original common mammal ancestor.


Evolved from a common ancestor with Hippos. Marine mammals are both the large predators (Killer whales -actually dolphins), and prey (Baleen whales etc.) of the sea. They hunt using sonar and follow the migration paths of their prey. 

Seals rely on beaches for fertilization by the "beach master" dominant male, and as a nursery for the maturing pups. 

  • Dolphins - Killer Whales predate whales and seals. 

  • Porpoises

  • Whales - eat fish or krill

  • Seals - mostly fish eaters

This genetic branch also includes;

  • Hippos 

  • Pigs

  • Camels


Flying mammals, mostly nocturnal who navigate by sonar and are enthusiastic insect eaters.



Unique herbivores that are not ruminants, so are inefficient vegetarians who need huge territories to avoid overgrazing. Tend to be keystone species because of their impact on their habitat.

Very intelligent with rich emotional life.  They have the longest  (2 year) gestation, that  produces a walking ready infant. At birth the baby weighs around 0.8% of adult, compared to 1.3% for humans. 

Others include;

  • Hyrax

  • Manatees 

  • Small mammals - Similar to the original common mammal ancestor.


Among the tree dwellers, the most common bird types are the Peccarines or perching birds. These are mostly seed and insect eaters. They are very colorful and varied, and seem to rely on female selection to avoid crossbreeding. Many birds migrate to find food through the seasons.

Adaptations for specialized feeding produces birds with locally different body structures such as  woodpeckers, toucans, parrots etc.

Birds of prey such as eagles, hawks and owls,  have formidable eye sight and talons that they use to catch birds, small mammals, and reptiles. 

Flightless or nearly flightless birds such as Ostrich, Emu and Bustards are ground predators on small animals.  

Hummingbirds are adapted to feed on flower pollen at ground level, mostly tropical, with a few that use the temperate US as a breeding ground. 

Song birds (Passerines or Perching)  mostly insect eaters are the the largest grouping of species of around 11,000. 

Fresh water sources provide a rich sources of fish and insects that live at the waters edge. There are large selection of birds that have a global reach including;​

  • Fisher birds of prey 

    • African fish hawk & Bald eagle​

    • Osprey are a single species world bird

  • divers for fish such as

    • kingfishers,

    • cormorants 

    • White pelicans 

  • waders ​

    • Flamingoes filter feed on brine shrimp and algae​​
    • Herons waders live on larger water creatures

    • Cranes are wading omnivores

    • Spoonbills sweep for small water creatures.

  • shorebirds​

    • Stilts & Avocets live on aquatic insects​

    • Sandpiper live on small invertebrates

    • Godwits & Curlews probe for deeper worms and snails

    • Plovers & Lapwings find insects and worms by sight.

  • water fowl

    • Grebes are fish eaters

    • Swans and Ducks live on water plants

Sea water has similar variety of food, and are a flourishing bird habitat. 

  • Cliff dwellers such as Puffins.

  • Divers such as

    • Brown pelicans,

    • terns, and

    • boobies.  

    • Skimmers feed as their name implies.

  • Shorebirds at the tide edge,

    • Whimbrel and

    • Oystercatchers search for insects and shellfish. 

  • Soarers such as Frigate birds and Albatross are resourceful scavengers as the they soar around the world. 


The reptiles evolved before the dinosaurs and have not changed much since.  The cold bloodied reptiles have slow metabolism that needs much less food.


  • Crocodiles are the infamous large predators who will take on any prey. Shared dinosaur ancestors with birds. 

  • Tortoises/turtles are slow vegetarians who come with a shell that provides protection from predators. Sea Turtles on travel to land to lay their eggs.

  • Snakes either crush or poison their prey.

  • Frogs

  • Lizards are mostly carnivores who include; iguanas,  Komodo Dragons who will take on wafer buffalo, and small insect eaters.  


The insects were the first to populate the land, and developed symbiotic relationships with plants.

  • Beetles and Termites feed on the cellulose of trees.

  • Worms  live on small insects in moist earth. 

  • Dragonflies live on tiny water insects.

  • Butterflies live on flower pollen during long annual migrations that last several life times. 

  • Grasshoppers live on seeds in grassland, and evolved into locusts that become plagues that can decimate domesticated crops. 

  • Bees both distribute pollen and convert nectar into honey, so are essential for stable plant ecosystems. 

  • Mosquitoes evolved later to prey on the warm blood of mammals.

In the ocean, the same genetic thread led to

  • crustaceans, and

  • mollusks who in turn led to

  • cephalons such as squid and

  • octopus, with great intelligence and camouflage.


The first vertebrates evolved in the ocean as fish.  The smallest fish live on the plankton or algae in coral reefs, and cold upwellings of northern currents. The larger fish such as tuna, live on smaller ones such as herring, up to the sharks who act as apex predators. There is nowhere to hide in the oceans, so ecosystem balance is maintained by a inverted size/population pyramid. Huge shoals of smaller fish are essential to survival. Coral reefs, shallow rocks and sea weed provide some cover, as a result these lead to permanent thriving diverse fish  communities. Within the coral there is a balance of algae, plant and fish eaters. The colorful patterns probably function much like Zebra stripes in confusing predators, and blending with the corals. 

Fresh water fish are equally varied, with trout being a favorite fish for human dining. Salmon are born in fresh water, they migrate to and live in salt water until its time to return to the river where they were born to give birth and die. The salmon migration or "run" is a famous feeding opportunity for predators particularly grizzly bears

Jaw less - Lampreys -

Cartilaginous  - Sharks & Rays -

Boney fish

    Lobe finned - dominated before K/T extinction.



        Mammals, reptiles, birds  - - 

   Ray finned - dominated after K/T extinction.




      Teleostei - >32,000 living species








Minnows, carps


Electric eels






Lizard fish






Cods - most common food fish. 

Beard fish


Soldier fish

Percomorpha (perch-like) 17,000 species - tuna, salmon, mackerel, seahorsesgobiescichlidsflatfish, marlins & billfish, wrasseperchesanglerfish, Mud skippers, and pufferfish.

Percomorpha. Fossil evidence shows that there was a major increase in size and abundance immediately after the K/T boundary. "Ray finned" because of their lightly built fins made of webbings of skin supported by radially extended thin bony spines   as opposed to the bulkier, fleshy lobed fins of the sister class  lobe-finned fish. Resembling folding fans, the actinopterygian fins can easily change shape and wetted area, providing superior thrust-to-weight ratios per movement. The fin rays attach directly to the proximal or basal skeletal elements, the radials, which represent the articulation between these fins and the internal skeleton (e.g., pelvic and pectoral girdles).

Structure and function in fishes

Marine ecosystems can be divided into many zones depending upon water depth and shoreline features. The oceanic zone is the vast open part of the ocean where animals such as whales, sharks, and tuna live. The benthic zone consists of substrates below water where many invertebrates live. The intertidal zone is the area between high and low tides. Other near-shore (neritic) zones can include mudflats, seagrass meadows, mangroves, rocky intertidal systems, salt marshes, coral reefs, lagoons. In the deep water, hydrothermal vents may occur where chemosynthetic sulfur bacteria form the base of the food web.




















Habitats and their life


The basic habitat  hierarchy for all species is; tree tops, ground, water front, water.

The major groups of animals are; Mammals, Birds, Reptiles, Insects and Fish.

Each area has its own mix of species, depending on geological history,  food and climate. The example shows different mammals depending the location. For instance canines that predate by outrunning their prey do not appear in tropical rain forest. 

Another example of the effect of geographic isolation is seen in the "Wallace line"  that separates the biogeographical realms of Asia with elephants and tigers, and 'Wallacea', a transitional zone between Asia and Australia also called the Malay Archipelago and the Indo-Australian Archipelago with marsupials.   Wallace noticed this clear division in both land mammals and birds during his travels through the East Indies in the 19th century.

The line runs through Indonesia, such as Makassar Strait between Borneo and Sulawesi (Celebes), and through the Lombok Strait between Bali and Lombok, where the distance is strikingly small, only about 35 kilometers (22 mi), but enough for a contrast in species present on each island. The complex biogeography of the Indo-Australian Archipelago is a result of its location at the merging point of four major tectonic plates and other semi-isolated microplates in combination with ancient sea levels.  

The frontispiece from Wallaces book shows his original grouping of isolated regions of evolution. 

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Keystone species 

The efforts to re-introduce species into their old habitats has highlighted the role of "keystone" species that have a critical impact on the local balance of nature. Examples include; wolves, sea otters, beavers, wildebeest. 


In Yellowstone, the introduction of wolves made the local herbivores, mostly deer, nervous causing them to move rather than stand around over grazing the vegetation. The result is that the ground cover and trees showed an almost immediate recovery. 

Sea Otters

In the Aleutian Islands, the Sea Otters have been slowly increasing their range west. One of the most western was a urchin desert, the sea bottom was devoid of vegetation and covered by urchins. Once the Sea Otters moved in, they feasted on the Urchins and the sea bottom was transformed into a thriving multi-species habitat. 


Across the Western US, beavers have been recovering after being hunted to the brink of extinction. The beavers dam rivers, forming wet lands that are home to a wide range of animals and water birds. Beavers are now being reintroduced around Europe as part of their habitat recovery efforts. 


As a result of poaching and local wars a number of parks in Eastern Africa have been almost completely depopulated. Once peace and local control has been established, Wildebeest have started to repopulate in some cases along with deliberate reintroduction. Initially, the populations exploded and there were concerns that there was going to be an overgrazing catastrophe. After a few years, the numbers stabilized as predators self repopulated to take advantage of the prey. The grazing herbivores opened up the land which enabled other herbivores that live on different vegetation.

Elephants because they rearrange the tree life - for good and bad. They knock down trees in dense forest producing paths for many animals to migrate.  In Hwange NP in  Zimbabwe, water holes are provided to  encourage elephants to avoid moving into and destroying the local farmers crops. An unforeseen consequence of a stationary population  is that female elephants are almost continuously pregnant, and the birth rate has increased. This results in sever overgrazing with trees reduced to dead stumps. 

Prairie Dogs - provide habitat for others such as burrowing owls, help grassland

Woodpeckers create nest holes for others.

Sea stars keep mussels under control


Video script - 10 mins =  600 secs / 80 = 8 secs per bullitt.


Fast dissolve  - Monkey Hawk Elephant  Lion Impala Crane Dragonfly Salmon Boobie Whale Turtle Octopus 

Slow dissolve  - Forest Grassland  River Ocean 

Life in habitats............Location, location, location ​

Animals care about location too......

  1. Survival is about finding food....... and not getting eaten  (2 Water buff clips). 

  2. T forest () Primates evolved in the tropical forest .... the tree tops are the best place to raise dependent kids, there is fruit year round and away from predators. They evolve differently in physically isolated  communities.

  3. Howler

  4. Spider ()

  5. Capuchin ()

  6. Macaque ()

  7. Orangutan ()

  8. Probiscus ()

  9. Chimp ()

  10. Gorilla ()

  11. Eagle () Birds thrive in the tropical forest,

  12. Toucans (),

  13. Parrots (),

  14. Paradise ()....

  15. Forest view () At ground level, in the tropics there is  little sun  

  16. Okapi ()

  17. Frog ()

  18. Leopards() Ambush predators are limited  and  pursuit predators cannot compete.

  19. Jaguars (

  20. Butterflies ()

  1. Grassland () Grassland is a much more open and prolific habitat, vast herds of herbivore ruminants that thrive such as

  2. Water Buffallo mig (vd)

  3. Antelopes (3)

  4. Rhino

  5. Elephants (vid), rely on huge territories to avoid overgrazing ().

  6. Elephant map()

  7. Lions hunt (vid) Ambush predators live on herbivores ,

  8. Leopards(),

  9. Cheetah(vid)

  10. wild dogs (vid) pursuit predators thrive  ,

  11. foxes (vid)

  12. ​Baboon(vid ) Primate omnivores form large packs

  13. rodents()   provide food for many as shown by their large litters.

  14. (Fish eagle), Birds of prey 

  15. Willow etc),

  16. owl ().

  17. Bustards (vid ).  

  18. Rollers(vid)

  19. Snakes (pic)  predator reptiles,

  20. Lizards

  21. tortoises (vid) are vegetarian reptiles

  22. Dung beetles insects ​

  1. In temperate latitudes, 

  2. squirrels () thrive in trees  while storing nuts for the winter

  3. Buffallo()

  4. Moose()

  5. small deer () and

  6. Rabbits()  rodents.

  7. Lynx (vid) Ambush predators Lynx & Mt Lions prey on

  8. fox (vid)  Wolves,  pursuit predators.

  9. bears () As it gets colder, bears are more successful omnivores who hibernate in the winter seasons.

  10. (migration map ()Birds tend to migrate to follow food through the seasons 

  11.  Red tail () ,

  12. Kestrel),

  13. woodpeckers (acorn) thrive by stealing them.

  14. (Cardinal) A huge variety of birds perch and live on insects and nuts ,

  15. grossbeak,

  16. bunting)  

  17. Insects (wasp) Insects are at the bottom of the food tree distributed world wide;  beetles, termites, worms, mosquitoes, bees, butterflies.

  18. Butterflies (3) 

  1. Rivers () The rain that is essential for all this life to thrive makes its way into fresh water rivers and lake habitats hosting plants,

  2.  fish (), insects and shellfish.

  3. Kingfishers () divers  Birds have adapted to niches in the river habitat These adaptations appear in tropical and temperate climes.

  4. Stilt (vid) edge dwellers ,

  5. Flamingo  (vd)  waders

  6. Cranes(),

  7. Grebe (vd) waterfowl 

  8. hippos ( vid ), limited swim range  limited to Africa. The tropical fresh water habitat is home to large bad tempered herbivores -  

  9. crocodiles (vid) large bad tempered carnivore reptiles - that famously prey on wilderbeest migrations, and

  10. Otters () fish predators

  11. Beavers (pic)  are a keystone species that transform the habitat with dams and

  12. lakes (). 

  13. Turtles () are common reptiles

  14. Dragonflies ()  are common insects

  1. Oceans () The oceans provide a salt water habitat for more fish, shellfish, krill and plankton, food for 

  2. Whales (vid) marine mammals  who also prey on  other including; toothed whales  baleen whales that prey on krill,  dolphins, seals, 

  3. sea otters (pic).  

  4. Killer (vid). The apex predator is the "killer whale" that is actually a dolphin (vid).

  5. Humback Whales() migrate annually between feeding grounds in the north and breeding grounds near the equator (SD pics). 

  6. (Elephant seals). Seals use the beaches for mating and as a protected nursery

  7. (Puffins) The bird niches mimic the fresh water ones; cliff dwellers,

  8. (boobies) divers,

  9. (curlew) edge dwellers , 

  10. (frigate birds) (vid) soarers . 

  11. salt water crocodiles() Reptiles  

  12. sea turtles (video)  who spend their lives at sea.

  13. (still) returning to their birth beaches to lay eggs . 

  14.  Coral (vd) Fish range from the smallest herring to tuna to

  15. shark (vid) apex predators .Coral provides one of the few fixed food sources in the ocean and acts as a nursery for many diverse species. 

  16. octopus () The early  insects evolved into crustaceans, squid and . 

  17. crabs (vid)

  1. polar bears () Isolated ecosystems, at the polar extremes only a few very hardy species survive, in the North and

  2. penguins () in the South. 

  3. Australia (2 roos),

  4. Galapagos (2 tortoise),

  5. New Zealand (2 flightless birds)

  6. Unique habitats have allowed the adaptation of  unique interdependent species. 

Feature summary 

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