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The Modern Terrestrial Mammals of South America

  • Thomas Defler
Chapter
Part of the Topics in Geobiology book series (TGBI, volume 42)

Abstract

This is a complete generic list and short discussion of the modern mammalian fauna in South America and shows the comparative percentages of each terrestrial mammalian order. The rodents make up 62.7% of the entire terrestrial mammalian biota (bats excluded), while the second largest group, the primates, makes up 16.3% of the terrestrial fauna. The total South American terrestrial mammalian fauna is about 991 species (74.5%) from about 1330 species when bats, pinnipeds, cetaceans, and manatees are added. This makes South America the most diverse continent in terms of mammals in the world. About 24.5% of all the world’s mammalian species are found in South America based on the 5416 world species listed in Wilson and Reeder’s (2005) Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Despite the extensive Pleistocene extinctions, the fauna is amazing in its diversity. This species list is far from finished, especially since new molecular techniques are uncovering many new species, promising new discoveries for the future. However, more and more species are becoming threatened and endangered, and this growing threat is worse every year with habitat loss being the major threat, endangering over 2000 species throughout the world.

Keywords

South American mammals Neotropical mammals 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Defler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyNational University of Colombia, BogotaBogotaColombia

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