Biodiversity

Monday, May 15, 2006

WHY HERBIVORES IN THE FOREST LIVE ALONE OR IN PAIRS, WHILE HERBIVORES IN OPEN GRASSLAND LIVE IN GREGARIOUS GROUP

Herbivores are animals that depend on plants for their survival. Herbivores can be classified or divided into groups such as fungivores and folivores. Fungivores are animals that feed themselves on fruits and folivores are animals that feed themselves on leaves. Most of the animals that eat fruits, they also eat plants, roots and seeds. Herbivores animals use open grassland and tropical rain forestas their dwelling place. Forest is the large area of trees which grow close together. It also have plants, shrubs, herbs and grasses. The dominante species are tall trees such as Acaccia species etc with a dense canopy. Grassland is the area or the land covered with wild grasses such as rooi grass ect, shrubs, tress far away from each other. The dominant species are grasses.

Herbivores that are found in both open grassland and forest environment include insects such as grasshoppers and many other insects which are living in the dapple shade of the forest. Other herbivores include" birds such Ross’s turaco which depend on dense cover or vegetation and the large and small animals such as elephant, gorillas, pygmy hippo, bongo, okapi, zebra, giraffe, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, rabbit and hares etc”(1,2). All these animals depend on fallen fruits, seeds, sapling, twigs, shrubs, leaves, flower etc for their survival. ( Wikipedia contributors, 2006).

Zebras are one of the herbivores that are found in open grassland environment. These animals preferred to live in gregarious groups, it is simple and easy for them to communicate to each other if their enemies are close to them. Zebras feed themselves on grass for their survival. Living in social units helps the grassland animals cover more area with their eyes so that they can find their food and their predators faster. The other things that protect zebras from their enemies are their stripes which confuse their predators during the attack. There is no enough space to hide in open grassland; herbivores have to use speed to escape from their predators (Wikipedia contributors, 2006).

Another example of the herbivores found in the forest is giraffes. These animals have long neck to reach leaves about the floor or on the high canopy of the trees. They are found in tropical rain forest which have warm temperature. They have stripes legs which help them the blend into the shadow of the forest. Giraffes live in pairs and are not easy for them to see their enemy and they are not easily to be killed because they are big animals. They do not want to live in group because most of the animals feed on leaves they are scared that there will be a shortage of leaves that is why they preferred to live in pairs (Wikipedia contributors, 2006).

Okapi animals are found in forest and they live in pair. They feed on "the foliage which is avoided by other forest animals" (1,2). Animals such as deer are also feed on foliage but they live in a gregarious group compared to the okapi. It is simple for the herbivores that are found in forest to hide themselves from their enemy compared to those herbivores live in grassland; they have the chance the run to the tress as some of them are using trees as their living place (Wikipedia contributors, 2006).
Duikers are found at rain forest and they feed on fallen fruits and seed. Bird such as Ross’s turaco etc is herbivores that depend on dense cover or vegetation in order to protect themselves from their predators. The other herbivores that are found in grassland are grasshoppers, rabbit, snails and slugs. Malay tapir is a largest species which related to horses and rhinos. Tapir feeds on grass, leaves and fallen fruits and it lives alone or in a pairs because it does not want to be disturbed by other animals (Wikipedia contributors, 2006).

Herbivores that are found in open grassland can run fast away from their predators compared to those herbivores found in forest. Since there is no enough space to hide in grassland, living in social units help them to cover more area with their eyes so that they can see their predators faster and run away. Herbivores found in forest live alone or in pairs are selfish because they do not want to share their food with other animals, they want to eat alone.

Reference:

1. Whiet, P. Wendy Vanasselt. 2006. Pilot Analysis of Global Ecosystems: Grassland Ecosystems [ Internet]. Accessed 2006 [cited 24 May 2006, 15:45]. Available from:
http://earthtrends.wri.org/features/view_feature.php?theme=7&fid=5

2. Wikipedia contributors. Herbivores [Internet]. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 2006 May 30, 00:26 UTC [Cited May 12, 12:45]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbivorous




Lizzy Maluleke
CSIR PTA
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Cell number 072 351 8488
Tell [012] 841 2133
Fax [012] 842 3676
E-mail mmaluleke@csir.co.za
Weblog: http://mmaluleke.blogspot.com/

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