Biodiversity at REGUA

The Atlantic Forest is one of the top five biodiversity hotspots on Earth [5]. Palaeoenvironmental studies indicate that the Atlantic Forest was once contiguous with the Amazon, becoming separated during the Tertiary period when an increasingly arid climate allowed the dry open grass and shrub dominated Caatinga, Cerrado and Pantanal to form a wide barrier between the two great forests [2]. Although wetter periods during the more recent late Pleistocene and Holocene allowed forest bridges between the Atlantic Forest and the Amazon to form [1] [2], for tens of thousands of years the Atlantic Forest has evolved largely in geographical isolation.

Together with a vast latitudinal distribution and a wide range in elevation due to the region’s mountainous topography, geographical isolation has produced a rich biodiversity with an exceptionally high level of endemism [6]. Endemism in Atlantic Forest flora and fauna averages 50%, but reaches 90% for some organisms [3].

Bio-inventories at REGUA show that with its continuous forest cover, from humid forest in the lowlands up to montane elfin forest at 2,000 metres above sea level, wetlands, rivers, grassland, and farmland, REGUA is an important area of Atlantic Forest for biodiversity and an area of high conservation priority.

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Amphibians

456 species of amphibian are found in the Atlantic Forest, of which 282 (62%) are endemic to the biome [8]. 73 species have been recorded at REGUA to date. More »

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Arachnids

58 arachnid species have been identified at REGUA, including 48 spiders (Arachnida), eight harvestmen and daddy-longlegs (Opiliones) and two species of scorpion (Scorpiones). To follow »

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Birds

682 species of birds occur in the Atlantic Forest, and 199 (29%) of these are Atlantic Forest endemics [7]. Over 470 species have been recorded at REGUA to date. More »

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Butterflies

2,120 butterfly species have been recorded in the Atlantic Forest [8]. 377 species have been identified at REGUA to date. To follow »

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Dragonflies and damselflies

REGUA is home to more odonata species than anywhere else in the Atlantic Forest, with 204 species recorded to date. More »

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Mammals

264 mammal species have been recorded in the Atlantic Forest. 72 of these (27%) are endemic to the biome [8], and of the primates 80% are endemic [4]. 61 species have been recorded at REGUA to date. More »

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Moths

There is clearly a huge diversity of moths at REGUA and so far 158 moth species have been recorded, including 76 hawkmoth species. More »

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Orchids

A total of 97 orchid species from 51 genera have been identified at REGUA. 44 of these species are new citations for the municipality of Cachoeiras de Macacu. To follow »

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Reptiles

Around 311 reptile species occur in the Atlantic Forest, with 94 (30%) of these endemic to the bioregion [8]. 42 species have been recorded at REGUA to date. More »

References

1. Buso Junior, A. A. et al. (2013) Late Pleistocene and Holocene Vegetation, Climate Dynamics, and Amazonian Taxa in the Atlantic Forest, Linhares, SE Brazil. Radiocarbon. 55, 2013. pp. 1747-1762.
2. Costa, L. P. (2003) The historical bridge between the Amazon and the Atlantic Forest of Brazil: a study of molecular phylogeography with small mammals. Journal of Biogeography. 30. pp. 71–86.
3. de Mello Martins, F. (2011) Historical biogeography of the Brazilian Atlantic forest and the Carnaval Moritz model of Pleistocene refugia: what do phylogeographical studies tell us? Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 104. pp. 499-509.
4. Iracambi. (2009) The Atlantic Forest. [Online]. Available from: http://en.iracambi.com/about-us/where-we-are/the-atlantic-rainforest [Accessed 7 April 2015].
5. Myers, N. et al. (2000) Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature. 403. pp. 853–858.
6. Ribeiro, M. C. et al. (2011) The Brazilian Atlantic Forest: A Shrinking Biodiversity Hotspot. In: Zachos, F. E. & Habel, J. C. (eds.) Biodiversity Hotspots: Distribution and Protection of Conservation Priority Areas. Berlin. Springer.
7. Stotz, D. F. et al. (1996) Neotropical Birds: Ecology and Conservation. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press.
8. Wildscreen Arkive. (2015) Atlantic forest. [Online]. Available from: http://www.arkive.org/eco-regions/atlantic-forest/ [Accessed 7 April 2015].