Fauna

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Fauna,

in Roman religion: see Bona DeaBona Dea
, in Roman religion, ancient fertility goddess worshiped only by women; also called Fauna. She was said to be the daughter, sister, or wife of Faunus. No man could be present at her annual festival in May.
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Fauna

 

the aggregate of animal species inhabiting a particular region. The fauna of a region evolves historically from various animal groups known as faunistic complexes. It is usually difficult and sometimes even impossible to ascertain the origin of a faunistic complex; as a result, determination of whether certain species belong to a given complex is generally based on the similarity of the ranges of the animals.

There are tundra, taiga, nemoral, forest, steppe, semidesert, desert, pantropic, palaeotropical, and other faunistic complexes. The faunistic complexes constituting a given fauna may vary in number. For example, the steppe fauna is made up of the predominant steppe faunistic complex, a complex of cosmopolitan species, and representatives of complexes predominant in other faunas, for example, nemoral and desert complexes. The steppe faunistic complex, in turn, consists of several groups: endemic animals, animals that are not endemic but occupy zonal habitats in the steppe zone and do not range far from the zone, and animals that range relatively far from the zone but are very abundant in the zone. Every region has autochthonous species, whose origin is linked to the region, and immigrant species. Thus, the fauna of a region consists of species of different origin that came to the region by different routes and at different times. The species constituting a fauna occupy a given habitat. For example, the desert fauna includes inhabitants of clayey deserts, sandy deserts, stony deserts, solonetzes, solonchaks, lakes, rivers, and river valleys overgrown with tugais.

One of the principal means of studying a fauna is to take an inventory to determine the number of species constituting the fauna. The end result of fauna research is faunistic or zoogeographic regionalization of the earth or its individual regions.

The term “fauna” should not be confused with animal population—that is, the aggregate of animals that form a community characterized both by species diversity and by a large number of individuals (for example, in a tropical rain forest, high-grass savanna, or spruce forest). The term “fauna” is also applied to animals of different taxonomic categories (for example, the bird fauna or beetle fauna of a particular region), to the animals of a particular period (recent fauna, Myocene fauna), and, in geology, to the remains of animals from certain strata of earth.

Faunas are also studied by a branch of zoogeography called faunisties or faunistic zoogeography. Comprehensive treatises on the animals of an area are also called faunas, for example, the USSR fauna and the Tadzhikistan fauna.

REFERENCES

Geptner, V. G. Obshchaia zoogeografiia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1936.
Bobrinskii, N. A., and N. A. Gladkov. Geografiia zhivotnykh, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1961.
Kucheruk, V. V. “Stepnoi faunisticheskii kompleks mlekopitaiu-shchikh i ego mesto v faune Palearktiki.” In Geografiia naseleniia nazemnykh zhivotnykh i metody ego izucheniia. Moscow, 1959.
Voronov, A. G. Biogeografiia. Moscow, 1963.
Darlington, F. Zoogeografiia. Moscow, 1966. (Translated from English.)
Lattin, G. de. Grundriss der Zoogeographie. Jena, 1967.

A. G. VORONOV

fauna

[′fȯn·ə]
(zoology)
Animals.
The animal life characteristic of a particular region or environment.

fauna

1. all the animal life of a given place or time, esp when distinguished from the plant life (flora)
2. a descriptive list of such animals
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