Afrotropic ecozone

Afrotropical, also Äthiopis, the faunengeographische term for sub-Saharan Africa. This area was formerly known as Ethiopian zone. Along with the Oriental, it forms the Paläotropis, occur in many common plant and animal species or families. Examples include hornbills, elephants, pandanus plants and doum palms. The Afrotopis is the origin of Afrotheria.


The limit of the Afrotropical north is bounded by the desert belt of North Africa. The southern part of the Arabian Peninsula also belongs to Afrotopis. Madagascar and neighboring islands form a clearly distinguishable sub-region this Faunenzone, in the numerous endemic species such as the lemurs are native to the Afrotropical. Madagascar and the Seychelles were originally parts of the supercontinent Gondwana. The separation from the African continent took place 150 million years ago. Other islands in the Indian Ocean, such as the Comoros and Mascarene Islands are of volcanic origin and arose much later.

Is the capensis, which is characterized by a Mediterranean climate in Africa 's southernmost tip. In contrast to the floral kingdom that is characterized by many endemic species, the Capensis is not a separate sub-region of the Afrotropical Faunenreiches.


The main habitats of the Afrotropical one hand, the tropical rain and wet forests of Central and West Africa, as well as the savannas and dry forests that surround them and shield against the northern desert regions. This desert regions of the Sahara and southern Arabia form a transition zone to the Palearctic. In southern Africa are the Namib Desert, the Karoo and the Kalahari desert areas further.

The endemic plant family of Afrotropical include, for example Oliniaceae, Heteropyxidaceae, Penaeaceae, Psiloxylaceae and Rhynchocalycaceae ( order Myrtales ) and Sarcolaenaceae ( order Malvales ).


A large part of the fauna is similar to the Oriental, but also with the Palaearctic there are similarities. Some endemic animal groups can be regarded as very old elements of the Afrotropical as figures for they have no fossil record of the Palearctic - a region, most exchange was performed on the in the recent past. These ancient forms are about the grass lizards, the caecilians, and the freshwater mussels of Mutelidae family. These ancient forms shares the Afrotropical in part to the Neotropical region. A fact which points to the existing connection between the two continental plates and the supercontinent Gondwana in early times.


Africa was at the beginning of the Cenozoic partially isolated from all other continents and developed at this time a particularly distinct mammalian fauna. The groups of animals that originated here, are now counted in the group of Afrotheria. These include groups that are still endemic, such as elephant shrews and aardvarks, but also groups that temporarily gained a worldwide distribution, such as the mammoths and the manatees.

The Afrotopische region has particularly among mammals many commonalities with the Oriental region, with which it is sometimes united to Paläotropis. Many families are endemic to both regions together, but are each present in different genres. To be found among the great apes, the genera of the chimpanzee (Pan) and gorillas (Gorilla ) only in the Afrotropical, while orangutans ( Pongo ) and Gibbons ( Hylobatidae ) are endemic to the Oriental. The same is true for the Cercopithecidae with vervet monkeys ( Cercopithecus ), mandrills ( Mandrillus ) and mangabeys in the Afrotopis and langurs, monkey clothes and snub-nosed monkeys in the Oriental, to name only a selection. Other examples are the elephants Loxodonta or Elephas, the rhinoceros Diceros and Ceratotherium with or Rhinoceros and Dicerorhinus or the Bovidae with genres such as Syncerus, Tragelaphus and Chonnochaetes in the Afrotropical or Bibos and Boselaphus in the Oriental.

Among the families of mammals that are endemic to the Afrotropical today include hippos, giraffes, elephants shrews, otter shrews, golden moles, thorn tail squirrel, aardvark, spring hares, rats and mice mane sleeper. Bear and deer that were originally occurred in North Africa, on the other hand are completely absent from the Afrotropical. Some, like the hippos and giraffes came down to the Plio - Pleistocene but also in South Africa.

Among the endemic bird families include ratites, the sunbirds, the secretaries, the guinea fowl and the long wing parrots.