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A Wildlife Guide to Chile

A Wildlife Guide to Chile: Continental Chile, Chilean Antarctica, Easter Island, Juan Fernandez Archipelago

Sharon Chester
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 400
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  • Book Info
    A Wildlife Guide to Chile
    Book Description:

    This is the first comprehensive English-language field guide to the wildlife of Chile and its territories--Chilean Antarctica, Easter Island, Juan Fernández, and San Félix y San Ambrosio. From bats to butterflies, lizards to llamas, and ferns to flamingos,A Wildlife Guide to Chilecovers the country's common plants and animals. The color plates depict species in their natural environments with unmatched vividness and realism. The combination of detailed illustrations and engaging, succinct, and authoritative text make field identification quick, easy, and accurate. Maps, charts, and diagrams provide information about landforms, submarine topography, marine environment, climate, vegetation zones, and the best places to view wildlife. This is an essential guide to Chile's remarkable biodiversity.

    The only comprehensive English-language guide to Chile's common flora and faunaThe first guide to cover Chile and its territories--Chilean Antarctica, Easter Island, Juan Fernández, and San Félix y San Ambrosio120 full-color plates allow quick identification of more than 800 speciesAccompanying text describes species size, shape, color, habitat, and rangeDescriptions list size, distribution, and English, Spanish, and scientific namesInformation on the best spots to view wildlife, including major national parksCompact and lightweight--a perfect field guide

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-3150-0
    Subjects: Zoology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iii)
    (pp. iv-iv)
    (pp. v-v)
    (pp. vi-vii)

    This guide covers the common plants and animals of continental Chile, the Juan Fernández Archipelago, Easter Island, and the Chilean Antarctic Territory. It also contains maps of mainland Chile and the outlying territories.

    Annotated and illustrated checklists of the common flora and fauna of Chile comprise the bulk of the guide. The floral and faunal families are arranged in phylogenetic sequence, beginning with the most primitive and ending with the most advanced. The latest taxonomic order based on DNA analysis was employed, but note that taxonomy is a system in flux and what was current at the time of writing...

    (pp. vii-vii)
    (pp. viii-viii)
    (pp. 1-20)

    Chile is sometimes called the “stringbean” of South America due to its long, narrow shape. It is the longest country in the world. The mainland extends through 38 degrees of latitude, a distance of 2700 miles (4345 km) from north to south. This span is equal to one-tenth of the earth’s perimeter, or the distance between Ketchikan, Alaska, and the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula. In contrast, the average width is only 110 miles (177 km), with a maximum of 217 miles (350 km) near Antofagasta.

    Chile’s topographical profile is unique. The land slopes steeply from the High...

    (pp. 21-31)

    The Pacific seacoast of continental Chile is about 4000 miles (6436 km) long. The coastal waters are rich and productive due to the cold currents and upwellings that exist along the mainland coast.

    The humboldt (peru) current is a fairly slow, coldwater flow that carries abundant nutrients from the Antarctic to the Chilean coast. The current is named after the 19th-century German scientist Alexander von Humboldt who measured its temperature and rate of flow, and described its effects on the surrounding atmosphere.

    As the Humboldt Current reaches 40°S latitude, the stream bisects. One portion flows around the southern tip of...

    (pp. 32-72)

    This section of the guide contains a sampler of the common plants one can see while travelling throughout Chile. Many plants will be familiar to the weekend botanist as Chilean trees and shrubs are widely grown in temperate climate parks and gardens.

    Those who have a deep interest in identifying the native flora are advised to secure a knowledgeable guide who is intimate with the regional flora. A few of the botanical field guides currently available in Chile are listed in the bibliography on page 379. This page also lists some of the excellent web sites covering Chilean flora.


    (pp. 73-89)

    There are about 2400 species of native plants in Chile. Almost half of them are endemic (found only in Chile). This section contains brief botanical descriptions of the more familiar, distinctive and widespread native trees and shrubs. The descriptions do not include lower plants such as mosses, fungi and ferns, but concentrate on the larger seed-plants, which are known as spermatophytes or phanerogams.

    Spermatophytes produce seeds containing an embryo or dormant plant, which germinates (becomes active) under favorable conditions. Spermatophytes are usually divided into gymnosperms (plants that bear naked seeds, e.g., seeds not enclosed in an ovary) and angiosperms (plants...

    (pp. 90-105)

    Butterflies(mariposas)and moths(polillas)are in the order Lepidoptera—a word that derives from the Greeklepidosfor “scales” andpterafor “wings.” It refers to the feature that separates the Lepidoptera as a group from all other insects—the powder-like wing scales that contain a pigment that gives lepidopterids some of their color.

    Adult butterflies and moths have three body regions: head, thorax, and abdomen. The head has a pair of segmented antennae and a pair of large, rounded eyes. Butterflies and many moths have a coiled proboscis that unrolls into a long sucking tube used for feeding...

    (pp. 106-125)

    Sea turtles are cold-blooded, air-breathing reptiles that inhabit warm and temperate oceans of the world. They are larger than, and different from, land turtles in that the limbs are modified into flippers and the head and limbs cannot be retracted into the shell. Male sea turtles seldom come ashore. Adult females must return to land to lay their eggs, and often migrate long distances between their oceanic feeding grounds and coastal nesting beaches.

    ID: 2.5–3.6 ft (0.8–1.12 m). wt 150–410 lbs (68–186 kg). The largest individual ever collected was 5 ft (1.5 m) long and weighed...

  14. BIRDS OF A feather
    (pp. 126-290)

    What makes birds so unique? The answer is their feathers. Feathers separate birds from all other living creatures.

    Feathers provide a number of services for birds. They shield them from ultraviolet light and act as insulation, allowing birds to maintain a body temperature of around 104° F (40° C).

    Feathers also supply a bird with color, an important factor in sexual display, camouflage and mutual identification. Feather color comes from two main sources—the pigments within the feather or refraction of light. Melanins and porphyrins are pigments that are manufactured in a bird’s body. Melanins provide grey, tan, brown and...

    (pp. 291-349)

    Approximately 148 mammal species occur in Chile. Eighteen of these are endemic—that is to say, they are found only in Chile.

    Land mammals account for only about 103 of the total species. This is a fairly low number for a country as large as Chile. Argentina, for example, has about 320 species of land mammals, Bolivia 316, and Peru 460. The relative scarcity of land mammals in Chile can be attributed in part to geographical isolation. The High Andes that extend the length of Chile’s eastern border, and the hyper-arid Atacama Desert in the north, deter the dispersal of...

    (pp. 350-375)

    Chile’s Forestry and Parks Unit, CONAF, administers 31 national parks, 48 national reserves and 15 national monuments. These represent 54,000 sq mi (140,000 sq km) of land, or 19 percent of Chile’s territory. These and the many city, provincial, and private parks offer splendid opportunities for wildlife observation. Only a few locations are described here, but any of the Chilean parks are worth exploring. Chile has an excellent internal airline network and tourist infrastructure, making it possible for one to visit a number of wildlife sites and a variety of habitats within a two to three week period.

    location: Pacific...

    (pp. 376-377)
    (pp. 378-378)
    (pp. 379-379)
    (pp. 380-392)