Chapter

Mammals of the Cerrado and Caatinga

Edited by Ana Paula Carmignotto, Mario de Vivo and Alfredo Langguth

in Bones, Clones, and Biomes

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780226649191
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226649214 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226649214.003.0014
Mammals of the Cerrado and Caatinga

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Cerrado and Caatinga are neighboring open biomes of tropical South America, but their vegetation, soil, and climate characteristics render them distinctive formations. Despite these differences, their mammal faunas are largely shared. The gallery, semideciduous, and deciduous forests contribute importantly to the species richness of these faunas, which together with the open habitats such as grasslands, savannas, and shrubby caatinga; enhance the overall species richness and high regional diversity of these formations. However, distinct histories of the open and forested formations are evident in mammal species distributions. The disjunct distribution of some arboreal mammals in the eastern Amazon and northern Atlantic rain forests, together with Pleistocene records of arboreal mammals in present-day areas of the Caatinga, reveal that this biome was not always an open, semiarid area but once constituted a forested formation. The higher number of endemic species of the Cerrado together with species shared with the Chaco (contrasted with the lower richness and endemism of the Caatinga) suggests the long-term persistence of open habitats in present-day areas of the Cerrado.

Keywords: mammals; biomes; grasslands; savannas; Pleistocene; South America

Chapter.  14676 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biological Sciences

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