country

Animals of Jamaica

337 species

Jamaica is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea. Spanning 10,990 square kilometres in area, it is the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles and the Caribbean, Jamaica lies about 145 kilometres south of Cuba, and 191 kilometres west of Hispaniola the British Overseas Territory of the Cayman Islands lies some 215 kilometres to the north-west.

Jamaica's climate is tropical, supporting diverse ecosystems with a wealth of plants and animals. Its plant life has changed considerably over the centuries; when the Spanish arrived in 1494, except for small agricultural clearings, the country was deeply forested. The European settlers cut down the great timber trees for building and ships' supplies, and cleared the plains, savannas, and mountain slopes for intense agricultural cultivation. Many new plants were introduced including sugarcane, bananas, and citrus trees.

Jamaica is home to about 3,000 species of native flowering plants, thousands of species of non-flowering flora, and about 20 botanical gardens, some of which are several hundred years old. Areas of heavy rainfall also contain stands of bamboo, ferns, ebony, mahogany, and rosewood. Cactus and similar dry-area plants are found along the south and southwest coastal area. Parts of the west and southwest consist of large grasslands, with scattered stands of trees. Jamaica is home to three terrestrial ecoregions, the Jamaican moist forests, Jamaican dry forests, and Greater Antilles mangroves. It had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 5.01/10, ranking it 110th globally out of 172 countries.

Jamaica's fauna, typical of the Caribbean, includes highly diversified wildlife with many endemic species. As with other oceanic islands, land mammals are mostly several species of bats of which at least three endemic species are found only in Cockpit Country, one of which is at-risk. Other species of bat include the fig-eating and hairy-tailed bats. The only non-bat native mammal extant in Jamaica is the Jamaican hutia, locally known as the coney. Introduced mammals such as wild boar and the small Asian mongoose are also common. Jamaica is also home to about 50 species of reptiles, the largest of which is the American crocodile; however, it is only present within the Black River and a few other areas. Lizards such as anoles, iguanas and snakes such as racers and the Jamaican boa, are common in areas such as the Cockpit Country. None of Jamaica's eight species of native snakes is venomous.

Jamaica is home to about 289 species of birds of which 27 are endemic including the endangered black-Billed parrots and the Jamaican blackbird, both of which are only found in Cockpit Country. It is also the indigenous home to four species of hummingbirds : the black-billed streamertail, the Jamaican mango, the Vervain hummingbird, and red-billed streamertails. The red-billed streamertail, known locally as the 'doctor bird', is Jamaica's National Symbol. Other notable species include the Jamaican tody and the Greater flamingo,

One species of freshwater turtle is native to Jamaica, the Jamaican slider. It is found only on Jamaica and on a few islands in the Bahamas. In addition, many types of frogs are common on the island, especially treefrogs.

Jamaican waters contain considerable resources of fresh and saltwater fish. The chief varieties of saltwater fish are kingfish, jack, mackerel, whiting, bonito, and tuna. Fish that occasionally enter freshwater and estuarine environments include snook, jewfish, mangrove snapper, and mullets. Fish that spend the majority of their lives in Jamaica's fresh waters include many species of livebearers, killifish, freshwater gobies, the mountain mullet, and the American eel. Tilapia have been introduced from Africa for aquaculture, and are very common. Also visible in the waters surrounding Jamaica are dolphins, parrotfish, and the endangered manatee.

Insects and other invertebrates are abundant, including the world's largest centipede, the Amazonian giant centipede. Jamaica is the home to about 150 species of butterflies and moths, including 35 indigenous species and 22 subspecies. It is also the native home to the Jamaican swallowtail, the western hemisphere's largest butterfly.

Jamaica is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea. Spanning 10,990 square kilometres in area, it is the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles and the Caribbean, Jamaica lies about 145 kilometres south of Cuba, and 191 kilometres west of Hispaniola the British Overseas Territory of the Cayman Islands lies some 215 kilometres to the north-west.

Jamaica's climate is tropical, supporting diverse ecosystems with a wealth of plants and animals. Its plant life has changed considerably over the centuries; when the Spanish arrived in 1494, except for small agricultural clearings, the country was deeply forested. The European settlers cut down the great timber trees for building and ships' supplies, and cleared the plains, savannas, and mountain slopes for intense agricultural cultivation. Many new plants were introduced including sugarcane, bananas, and citrus trees.

Jamaica is home to about 3,000 species of native flowering plants, thousands of species of non-flowering flora, and about 20 botanical gardens, some of which are several hundred years old. Areas of heavy rainfall also contain stands of bamboo, ferns, ebony, mahogany, and rosewood. Cactus and similar dry-area plants are found along the south and southwest coastal area. Parts of the west and southwest consist of large grasslands, with scattered stands of trees. Jamaica is home to three terrestrial ecoregions, the Jamaican moist forests, Jamaican dry forests, and Greater Antilles mangroves. It had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 5.01/10, ranking it 110th globally out of 172 countries.

Jamaica's fauna, typical of the Caribbean, includes highly diversified wildlife with many endemic species. As with other oceanic islands, land mammals are mostly several species of bats of which at least three endemic species are found only in Cockpit Country, one of which is at-risk. Other species of bat include the fig-eating and hairy-tailed bats. The only non-bat native mammal extant in Jamaica is the Jamaican hutia, locally known as the coney. Introduced mammals such as wild boar and the small Asian mongoose are also common. Jamaica is also home to about 50 species of reptiles, the largest of which is the American crocodile; however, it is only present within the Black River and a few other areas. Lizards such as anoles, iguanas and snakes such as racers and the Jamaican boa, are common in areas such as the Cockpit Country. None of Jamaica's eight species of native snakes is venomous.

Jamaica is home to about 289 species of birds of which 27 are endemic including the endangered black-Billed parrots and the Jamaican blackbird, both of which are only found in Cockpit Country. It is also the indigenous home to four species of hummingbirds : the black-billed streamertail, the Jamaican mango, the Vervain hummingbird, and red-billed streamertails. The red-billed streamertail, known locally as the 'doctor bird', is Jamaica's National Symbol. Other notable species include the Jamaican tody and the Greater flamingo,

One species of freshwater turtle is native to Jamaica, the Jamaican slider. It is found only on Jamaica and on a few islands in the Bahamas. In addition, many types of frogs are common on the island, especially treefrogs.

Jamaican waters contain considerable resources of fresh and saltwater fish. The chief varieties of saltwater fish are kingfish, jack, mackerel, whiting, bonito, and tuna. Fish that occasionally enter freshwater and estuarine environments include snook, jewfish, mangrove snapper, and mullets. Fish that spend the majority of their lives in Jamaica's fresh waters include many species of livebearers, killifish, freshwater gobies, the mountain mullet, and the American eel. Tilapia have been introduced from Africa for aquaculture, and are very common. Also visible in the waters surrounding Jamaica are dolphins, parrotfish, and the endangered manatee.

Insects and other invertebrates are abundant, including the world's largest centipede, the Amazonian giant centipede. Jamaica is the home to about 150 species of butterflies and moths, including 35 indigenous species and 22 subspecies. It is also the native home to the Jamaican swallowtail, the western hemisphere's largest butterfly.