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FLORA AND FAUNA IN CHAMELA CUIXMALA

PUERTO VALLARTA

NATURE

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Chamela Cuixmala
Biosphere Reserve
Flora and fauna in
Chamela - Cuixmala

MEXICO NATURE

FLORA AND FAUNA IN
CHAMELA CUIXMALA

Abundant and beautiful, that is how flora and fauna in Chamela - Cuixmala is, where more than 1200 plant species have been registered, along with 72 mammal species (27 native or endemic), 270 bird species (36 proper of the zone), 66 of reptiles (32 endemic) and 19 amphibious (10 native), besides a great number of invertebrates.

-Flora: most of the species are endemic. Regarding the trees, the most colourful one is the Guaiacum, also know as 'Lignum vitae' which flowers during the dry season shading the landscape with its yellow buds. Other emblematic species are the calabash trees (Crescentia alata) which produces some green gourd fruits with hard skins, and the Red Bloodwood (Caesalpinia eriostachys), recognisable for the cracks in its bark.

-Fauna, Chamela - Cuixmala is the habitat of over 400 animal species (resident or migratory), and many are in a threatened situation. The birds have the flashiest and most numerous populations within the Reserve.

The white ibis (Eudocimus albus), the pink spoonbill (Ajaia ajaja), the American stork (Mycteria americana), the chachalaca (Ortalis poliocephala), the red-hooded woodpecker (Driocopus lineatus), the coa or yellow trogon (Trogon citreolus) and the laughing falcon (Herpetotheres cachinnans) fly freely in here.

The forest of Chamela - Cuixmala welcomes migratory birds escaping from the cold winter of the United States and Canada. Besides, it offers protection to the Lilac-crowned Amazon Parrot (Amazona finschi, endemic in Mexico, the yellow-headed parrot (Amazona oratrix), on the brink of extinction, and the Forpus cyanopygius. The tiny Spectacled or Mexican parrotlet (Forpus cyanopygius), the smallest in the country, endemic and on the brink of extinction as well.

Other animals that can be watched in the mornings are the coatimundi (Nasua nasua); the collared peccary (Tayassu tajacu) and the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus); the Grayish Mouse Opossum (Marmosa canescens), the smallest of Mexican marsupials; the Pygmy Spotted Skunk (Spilogale pygmaea), original from Mexico, and the ghost bat (Diclidurus albus), show up on the nights amongst many others.

Amongst the main endangered species we have the following:
  • American crocodile (Crocodilus acutus): it is the largest reptile in Mexico with its five metres of length. It is hunted for its valuable skin, which is in great demand for the confection of leatherworks, and this circumstance added to the destruction of its habitat have put it on the brink of extinction.

  • Mexican beaded lizard, (Heloderma horridum): it is one of two venomous lizards existing in the world and it lives in this forest; the other one, the gila monster, can be found in the United States.
    The venomous lizard is 80 centimetres long and can be easily mistaken by an iguana. It has daytime and nighttime habits alike, and it attacks when feeling threatened only. It is also known as the enchaquirado or stringed for its black and yellow skin. It is endangered due to the greed of some collectors.

  • Jaguar (Panthera onca): it is the largest feline in America; though unfortunately, it is on the brink of extinction due to illegal hunting on a large scale, and to the destruction of its habitat.

  • Sea turtles: different species can be watched in here, such as the green turtle (Chelonia mydas), the leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), the carey (Eretmochelys imbricata) and the Olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea). Pursued for years by poachers, they have found on the shores of this Reserve a safe place to lay their eggs in.
Other species endangered due to the presence of poachers are the white tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), the peccary (Tayassu tajacu), the puma (Puma concolor), the iguana (Iguana iguana) and the boa (Boa constrictor).

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