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Biodiversity of Colombia facts for kids

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Megadiverse Countries
Colombia is one of seventeen megadiverse countries in the world
Biodiversity Hotspots
The country hosts two biodiversity hotspots:
1 - Tropical Andes
5 - Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena
Panthera onca Colombia
Jaguar in Jaime Duque Zoo, Tocancipá

The biodiversity of Colombia is the variety of indigenous organisms in the country with the second-highest biodiversity in the world, behind Brazil. As of 2016, 56,343 species are registered in Colombia, of which 9,153 are endemic. The country occupies the first position worldwide in number of orchids and birds, second position in plants, amphibians, butterflies and fresh water fish, third place in species of palm trees and reptiles and globally holds the fourth position in biodiversity of mammals.

The country hosts 59 nationally designated protected areas. At the establishment of the most recent addition, Bahía Portete – Kaurrele National Natural Park, Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos said "Biodiversity is to Colombia, what oil is for the Arabs".

In 2019, according to the Colombian Biodiversity Information System, 62,829 species were registered in the country, 5 of which more than 9,000 are considered endemic species.6 7 8 The country occupies the first position in the world in number of orchid and bird species, second in plants, amphibians, butterflies and freshwater fish, third in palm and reptile species, and fourth in mammalian biodiversity.

According to a report by the WWF, half of Colombia's ecosystems are in a critical state of deterioration or in a state of danger. The organization said that environmental degradation is due to oil extraction, mineral and metal extraction and deforestation. Deteriorating ecosystems are threatening the existence of more than a third of Colombia's plants and 50 percent of its animals.

Since 1998, the Humboldt Institute for Biological Resources has been collecting biodiversity samples. As of 2014, 16,469 samples, representing around 2,530 species of 1,289 genera, and 323 families from Colombian biodiversity have been stored in its archives.

Description

Colombia is one of seventeen megadiverse countries in the world. The country in northwestern South America contains 311 types of coastal and continental ecosystems. As of 2016, a total of between 56,343 and 56,724 species are registered in the country, with 9153 endemic species. Colombia is the country with the most páramos in the world; more than 60% of the Andean ecosystem is found within Colombian territories. Boyacá is the department where 18.3% of the national total area is located. Since December 20, 2014, Colombia hosts 59 protected areas. The biodiversity is highest in the Andean natural region, followed by the Amazon natural region. Since 1998, the Humboldt Institute for Biological Resources in the country has been collecting samples of biodiversity. As of 2014, 16,469 samples, representing around 2530 species from 1289 genera, and 323 families of the Colombian biodiversity have been stored in their archives.

The biodiversity of Colombia is at risk, mainly because of habitat loss, urbanisation, deforestation and overfishing. According to a study of 2001, 260,000 hectares (640,000 acres) of forested area is lost every year. Around 1200 species are critically endangered, and 922 species are introduced in Colombia, 22 of which are classified as invasive species in Colombia. Various plans to address the environmental issues are proposed. The National System of Protected Areas (SINAP) is the administrator of protected areas.

Biodiversity in numbers

Class Group Pos Species
Vertebrates Mammals (list, primates) 4
492
Birds (list, endemic) 1
1941
Reptiles (list, lizards, snakes) 3
537
Amphibians 2
803
Marine fish
2000
Freshwater fish (Magdalena River)
1435
Invertebrates
(arthropods)
Lepidoptera (butterflies, moths) 1
3274
Ants
900
Marine molluscs
1250
Marine sponges
1250
Corals
139
Marine decapods
560
Echinoderms
296
Terrestrial molluscs
650
Beetles
7000
Arachnids
1089
Bees
398
Diptera
3153
Flora (endemic) Flowering plants
22,840
Flowerless plants
45
Orchids (endemic) 1
4270
Ferns and relatives
1643
Palm trees 3
289
Mosses and relatives
1649
Algae Terrestrial algae
1030
Marine algae
565
Fungi Lichen
1674
Macrofungi
1239
Rusts
327
Smuts
71

To commemorate the biodiversity of Colombia, the coins of the Colombian peso introduced in 2012 feature a species each.

Natural regions

Colombia is divided into six natural regions.

Caribbean natural region

Mapa de Colombia (región del Caribe).svg
Surface area 132,288 km2 (51,077 sq mi)
Departments
Costa Norte regions map.svg
National parks
Bahía Portete
Ciénaga Grande
Los Colorados
Corales de Profundidad
Corales del Rosario
El Corchal
Los Flamencos
Macuira
Paramillo
Playona Acandí
Salamanca Island
S.N. de Santa Marta
Tayrona
Biodiversity aquatic birds 165
amphibians 39
reptiles 129
plants 3151
fish 109
References

Andean natural region

Mapa de Colombia (región Andina).svg
Surface area 282,540 km2 (109,090 sq mi)
Departments
National parks
Catatumbo Barí
Chingaza
El Cocuy
Corota
Cueva de los Guácharos
Doña Juana-Cascabel
Los Estoraques
Galeras
Guanentá
Las Hermosas
Iguaque
Nevado del Huila
Los Nevados
Las Orquídeas
Otún Quimbaya
Pisba
Puracé
Selva de Florencia
Sumapaz
Tamá
Tatamá
Yariguíes
Andino regions map.svg
Biodiversity aquatic birds 14
amphibians 485
reptiles 220
plants 11,500
fish 197
References

Orinoquía natural region

Mapa de Colombia (región de la Orinoquía).svg
Surface area 285,437 km2 (110,208 sq mi)
Departments
National parks La Macarena
Los Picachos
Tinigua
El Tuparro
Orinoquía regions map.svg
Biodiversity aquatic birds 92
amphibians 57
reptiles 119
plants 2692
fish 619
References

Amazon natural region

Mapa de Colombia (región Amazónica).svg
Surface area 483,911 km2 (186,839 sq mi)
Departments
National parks
Alto Fragua
Indi-Wasi
Amacayacu
Cahuinarí
Chiribiquete
Nukak
La Paya
Puinawai
Río Puré
Churumbelos
Tinigua
Colombian Amazonia regions map.svg
Biodiversity aquatic birds 74
amphibians 158
reptiles 195
plants 5300
fish 675
References

Pacific/Chocó natural region

Mapa de Colombia (región del Pacífico).svg
Surface area 83,170 km2 (32,110 sq mi)
Departments Flag of Cauca.svg Cauca
Flag of Chocó.svg Chocó
Flag of Nariño.svg Nariño
Flag of Valle del Cauca.svg Valle del Cauca
Pacifica regions map.svg
National parks Los Katíos
Sanquianga
Uramba Bahía Málaga
Utría
Biodiversity aquatic birds 142
amphibians 154
reptiles 177
plants 4525
fish 164
References

Insular natural region

Mapa de Colombia (región Insular).svg
Surface area 300 km2 (120 sq mi)
Departments Flag of Bolívar (Colombia).svg Bolívar
Flag of Cauca.svg Cauca
Flag of San Andrés y Providencia.svg San Andrés y Providencia
Flag of Valle del Cauca.svg Valle del Cauca
Colombian Islands regions map.svg
National parks Corales del Rosario
Malpelo
Old Providence
Gorgona
Biodiversity Corales del Rosario y San Bernardo
fish 170
corals 52
sponges 25
molluscs & crustaceans 100s
Gorgona Island
fish Pseudobatos prahli
Trichomycterus gorgona
Malpelo Island
fish Acanthemblemaria stephensi
Halichoeres malpelo
Old Providence Lagoon
birds 74
References

Biodiversity hotspots

Biodiversity hotspots of Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena (left) and Tropical Andes (right)

Colombia hosts two biodiversity hotspots; the Tropical Andes and Tumbes–Chocó–Magdalena. The country is part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves with five biosphere reserves:

Name Since First
review
Second
review
Image Notes
Cinturón Andino
1979
2001
2011
Rojisísísísísímo.jpg
El Tuparro
1979
2001
2011
Disfrutando de un Hotel de Mil Estrellas.jpg
Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta
1979
2001
2011
Living with the Stars.jpg
Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta
2000
2011
Cienaga Grande de Santa Marta.jpg
Seaflower
2000
2011
Corales Old Providence McBean Lagoon.JPG

Species

Boto-cor-de-rosa (Inia geoffrensis)
The Amazon river dolphin inhabits the southeastern Amazon region of Colombia

Selected fauna

Name Species Image
Caquetá titi Callicebus caquetensis
cotton-top tamarin Saguinus oedipus
Punk monkey at Zoo Schwerin.jpg
mountain tapir Tapirus pinchaque
Tapirus pinchaque portrait.jpg
ornate titi Callicebus ornatus
Callicebus ornatus.jpg
spectacled bear Tremarctos ornatus
Zoológico de Cali 116.JPG
white-footed tamarin Saguinus leucopus
HapaleLeucopusKeulemans.jpg
Santamartamys
Santamartamys, David Valle Martinez.jpg
American flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber
SFF Los Flamencos.JPG
Andean condor Vultur gryphus
Cóndores no se entierran a diario.JPG
blue-billed curassow Crax alberti
Crax albertiPCCA20051227-1981B.jpg
Colombian chachalaca Ortalis columbiana
Ortalis columbiana.JPG
Crested caracara Caracara plancus
Caracara cheriway.JPG
great egret Ardea alba
Garzas en el Parque Tayrona (4167034849).jpg
green-bearded helmetcrest Oxypogon guerinii
Oxypogon stuebelii - Buffy Helmetcrest - Colibrí Chivito - Barbudito Paramuno 23 (14411705333).jpg
indigo-capped hummingbird Amazilia cyanifrons
Indigo-capped Hummingbird (Amazilia cyanifrons) (8079781711).jpg
little blue heron Egretta caerulea
Garzas en el Parque Tayrona (4167031873).jpg
multicoloured tanager Chlorochrysa nitidissima
Multicolored tanager chicoral.jpg
snowy egret Egretta thula
Egretta thula of the Tayrona national park, Colombia.jpg
white-tailed starfrontlet Coeligena phalerata
Coeligena phalerata, male (12711468004).jpg
blue anole Anolis gorgonae
Anolis gorgonae MatthewGable.JPG
Magdalena River turtle Podocnemis lewyana
Magdalena River Turtle (Podocnemis lewyana), Medellin.jpg
rainbow whiptail Cnemidophorus lemniscatus
Cnemidophorus lemniscatus (01).JPG
spectacled caiman Caiman crocodilus
Babilla Parque Tayrona.JPG
Norops mariarum
Norops mariarum.jpg
Andean poison frog Andinobates opisthomelas
Ranitomeya opisthomelas.jpg
Boettger's Colombian treefrog Dendropsophus columbianus
Dendropsophus columbianus.jpg
golden poison frog Phyllobates terribilis
Schrecklicherpfeilgiftfrosch-01.jpg
Guajira stubfoot toad Atelopus carrikeri
Atelopus carrikeri01.jpg
harlequin poison frog Oophaga histrionica
Oophaga histrionica.jpg
Lehmann's poison frog Oophaga lehmanni
Oophaga lehmanni.jpg
Pristimantis tayrona
Prisimantis tayrona (12956371614).jpg
green discus Symphysodon tarzoo
Green Nanay.JPG
redhump eartheater Geophagus steindachneri
Gs displayingmale1.jpg
spotted moray Gymnothorax moringa
Spotted moray in Tyrona.png
Malpelo barnacle blenny Acanthemblemaria stephensi
Acanthemblemaria stephensi 2.jpg
Malpelo wrasse Halichoeres malpelo
Centrochir crocodili
Centrochir crocodili.jpg
Hoplosternum magdalenae
Hoplosternum magdalenae.png
Labrisomus dendriticus
Labrisomus dendriticus.jpg
Sturisoma aureum
Sturisoma aureum Richard Bartz.jpg
Clysonymus longwing Heliconius clysonymus
Clysonymus Longwing, dorsal view.jpg
Dirce beauty Colobura dirce
Dirce Beauty Colobura dirce.jpg
brown peacock Anartia amathea
Anartia amathea (2).jpg
eleone white Leptophobia eleone
Leptophobia eleone (5).jpg
short-lined kite swallowtail Protographium agesilaus
Papilionidae - Protographium agesilaus.JPG
Rhetus arcius
Rhetus arcius.jpg
Mastigoproctus colombianus
Mastigoproctus colombianus.jpg
Psammodesmus bryophorus
Psammodesmus bryophorus.jpg
giant ramshorn snail Marisa cornuarietis
Paradiesschnecke.jpg
Portuguese man o' war Physalia physalis
Physalia physalis, Tayrona national park, Colombia.jpg
sea slug
Tayrona Diving 7.jpg

Selected endemic flora

Name Species Image
Cattleya trianae
national flower
Cattleya trianae tipo Baronessa.jpg
wax palm Ceroxylon quindiuense
national tree
Ceroxylon quindiuense cocora.jpg
lulo Solanum quitoense
national fruit
FlordeLulo.jpg
borojó Alibertia patinoi
Borojoa patinoi.jpg
Ancipitia anthrax
Ancipitia anthrax.jpeg
Comparettia macroplectron
Comparettia macroplectron Orchi 02.jpg
Dracula bella
Dracula bella Orchi 22.jpg
Dracula diabola
Dracula diabola Orchi 13.jpg
Dracula lotax
Dracula lotax Orchi 132.jpg
Erythroxylum novogranatense
Erythroxylum novogranatense-IMG 0472.jpg
frailejón Espeletia killipii
Espeletia killipii 8.jpg
Heliconia bourgaeana
Heliconia bourgaeana1.JPG
Hypericum myricariifolium
Hypericum myricariifolium (4).jpg
Ipomoea pes-caprae
Ipomoea pes-caprae (2).jpg
Lepanthes ophelma
Lepanthes Ophelma.jpg
Lupinus alopecuroides
Lupinus alopecuroides 2 - Páramo de Ocetá.jpg
Masdevallia mejiana
Masdevallia-mejiana.jpg
Miconia salicifolia
Miconia salicifolia (1).jpg
Monnina salicifolia
Monnina salicifolia (3).jpg
Odontoglossum crispum
Odontoglossum crispum Orchi 05.jpg
Opuntia wentiana
Opuntia wentiana (8609027102).jpg
Paphinia rugosa
Paphinia rugosa.jpg
Paphinia seegeri
Paphinia seegeri Orchi 02.jpg
Passiflora loefgrenii
Passiflora loefgrenii1.jpg
Pentacalia vernicosa
Pentacalia vernicosa - Páramo de Ocetá.jpg
Phragmipedium schlimii
Phragmipedium schlimii Orchi 02.jpg
color-changing Restrepia Restrepia chameleon
Restrepia chameleon.jpg
copper-coloured Restrepia Restrepia cuprea
Restrepia cuprea Orchi 01.jpg
Restrepia nittiorhyncha
Restrepia nittiorhyncha Orchi 01.jpg
Restrepia pandurata
Restrepia pandurata Orchi 02.jpg
Senecio formosoides
Senecio formosoides (10).jpg
Stanhopea platyceras
Stanhopea platyceras Orchi 001.jpg
Stanhopea pozoi
Stanhopea pozoi Orchi 001.jpg
Stanhopea shuttleworthii
Stanhopea shuttleworthii Orchi 01.jpg
Stanhopea stevensonii
Stanhopea stevensonii Orchi 01.jpg

Selected endemic fungi

Name Species Image
Cookeina tricholoma
2015-01-05 Cookeina tricholoma group 497904.jpg
Favolus brasiliensis
2015-01-11 Favolus brasiliensis (Fr.) Fr 498949.jpg
Oudemansiella platensis
2015-01-11 Oudemansiella platensis (Speg.) Speg 498959.jpg

Panoramas

Cocora valley, Quindío
Ocetá Páramo, Boyacá
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