Argentina comprises a variety of landscapes which includes very different ecoregions, from lush subtropical forests of Amazonian domain in the north (Atlantic forest and Tucumano-Boliviano forest) to semi-deserts in different areas of the country (such as Monte, Pre-puna and Arid Chaco). Lush forests are even present in cold weather along the Andes in Patagonia, where a temperate rainforest (usually called “Valdivian forest”) is found in some points near the border with Chile. The second largest forest in South America, called the Chaco forest, is losing terrain due to fast deforestation, but still gives refuge to a plethora of wildlife. Steppes are found in most of Patagonia and in the high altitude Puna, where contrasting scattered lagoons and marshes host the largest diversity of waterfowl in South America. Huge wetlands (some of the world’s largest) are found in different parts of the country, such as the Ibera marshes in the north-east, the amazing La Estrella wetland in the center-north, Mar Chiquita lagoon in the central area (famous for its impressive numbers of flamingos) and Parana river delta, just at the doorstep of Buenos Aires. Well preserved grasslands and savannas are still holding on in some corners of the now highly modified plains of central Argentina. High Andes ecoregion is found on top of the mountains of this emblematic range (with its highest peaks found in Argentina), from the northwest to the far south of the country. The extremely long littoral along the marine coast, bathed by temperate and cold waters of one of the largest and most productive continental shelfs, hosts important feeding stations for migratory birds and a breeding ground for numerous species of birds and marine mammals. Argentina is all this and more, including being the main gateway to Antarctica, a different and unique continent, and the offshore islands of the South West Atlantic.
The huge diversity of habitats and landscapes makes a great biodiversity as well. Besides the birds, there are thousands of species of flora and fauna in Argentina.
Some of the most iconic South American large animals are found in this country, including some related to subtropical climate (Jaguar, South American Tapir, Maned Wolf, 3 species of peccaries, howler, capuchin and owl monkeys, Capibara, caimans, Boa Constrictor, Yellow Anaconda, etc.) and some related to more temperate, cold and even sub Antarctic climate (Guanaco, Vicuña, Mara and many species of marine mammals, such as Southern Elephant Seal, Dusky and Commerson's Dolphin, Orca, and the great Southern Right Whale, among many others). Armadillos (14 species!) and Anteaters (Tamandua and Giant) are present as well. Some of these species (or their traces) are usually seen while birding in the countryside of Argentina. 63 species of bats (including vampire and fishing bats) and 26 species of marsupials (opossums) have been recorded in the country.
Other less visible fauna includes the freshwater fish species in La Plata river basin (second largest basin in South America), with three species of piranhas, Golden Dorado, Sorubim, cichlids, tetras and freshwater sting rays.
Invertebrates complete the scene, with an outstanding diversity of more than 1200 diurnal butterflies, including the colorful Morphos (such as Aega and White), Longwings (such as Ethilla), Eighty-eights (such as Hydaspes and Candrena), Swallowtails (Polystictus, Anchises, Ruby-spotted and more), among many others.
Anyone looking for a complete South American wildlife experience would get the best overview on a trip to Argentina.
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