The Central America bioregion is a biogeographic region comprising southern Mexico and Central America.
Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the eleventh most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.
Central America is located on the southern tip of North America, or is sometimes defined as a subcontinent of the Americas, bordered by Mexico to the north, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south. Central America consists of seven countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. The combined population of Central America has been estimated to be 41,739,000 and 42,688,190.
The bioregion covers the southern portion of Mexico, all of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, and all but easternmost Panama.
Belize is a country located on the eastern coast of Central America. Belize is bordered on the northwest by Mexico, on the east by the Caribbean Sea, and on the south and west by Guatemala. It has an area of 22,970 square kilometres (8,867 sq mi) and a population of 387,879 (2017). Its mainland is about 180 mi (290 km) long and 68 mi (110 km) wide. It has the lowest population and population density in Central America. The country's population growth rate of 1.87% per year (2015) is the second highest in the region and one of the highest in the Western Hemisphere.
Costa Rica, officially the Republic of Costa Rica, is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the northeast, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, and Ecuador to the south of Cocos Island. It has a population of around 5 million in a land area of 51,060 square kilometers. An estimated 333,980 people live in the capital and largest city, San José with around 2 million people in the surrounding metropolitan area.
El Salvador, officially the Republic of El Salvador, is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. It is bordered on the northeast by Honduras, on the northwest by Guatemala, and on the south by the Pacific Ocean. El Salvador's capital and largest city is San Salvador. As of 2016, the country had a population of approximately 6.34 million.
WWF defines bioregions as "geographic clusters of ecoregions that may span several habitat types, but have strong biogeographic affinities, particularly at taxonomic levels higher than the species level (genus, family)."
The bioregion lies in the tropics, and is home to tropical moist broadleaf forests, tropical dry broadleaf forests, and tropical coniferous forests. The higher mountains are home to cool-climate montane forests, grasslands and shrublands.
The tropics are the region of the Earth surrounding the Equator. They are delimited in latitude by The Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere at 23°26′12.5″ (or 23.43679°) N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere at 23°26′12.5″ (or 23.43679°) S; these latitudes correspond to the axial tilt of the Earth. The tropics are also referred to as the tropical zone and the torrid zone. The tropics include all the areas on the Earth where the Sun contacts a point directly overhead at least once during the solar year - thus the latitude of the tropics is roughly equal to the angle of the Earth's axial tilt.
Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests (TSMF), also known as tropical moist forests, are a tropical and subtropical forest habitat type defined by the World Wide Fund for Nature. The habitat type is sometimes known as jungle.
The tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forest is a habitat type defined by the World Wide Fund for Nature and is located at tropical and subtropical latitudes. Though these forests occur in climates that are warm year-round, and may receive several hundred centimeters of rain per year, they have long dry seasons which last several months and vary with geographic location. These seasonal droughts have great impact on all living things in the forest.
Central America connects North America to South America. The land bridge was completed 2.8 million years ago, when the Isthmus of Panama was formed, linking the two continents for the first time in tens of millions of years. The resulting Great American Interchange of animals and plants shaped the flora and fauna of the Central America bioregion.
North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere; it is also considered by some to be a northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, and to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea.
South America is a continent in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. It may also be considered a subcontinent of the Americas, which is how it is viewed in the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking regions of the Americas. The reference to South America instead of other regions has increased in the last decades due to changing geopolitical dynamics.
The Isthmus of Panama, also historically known as the Isthmus of Darien, is the narrow strip of land that lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, linking North and South America. It contains the country of Panama and the Panama Canal. Like many isthmuses, it is a location of great strategic value.
Large mammals include the white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari), Baird's tapir (Tapirus bairdii), white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), Central American red brocket (Mazama temama), Yucatan brown brocket (Mazama pandora), giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), brown-throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus), jaguar (Panthera onca), cougar (Puma concolor), and ocelot (Leopardus pardalis).
The white-lipped peccary, is a peccary found in Central and South America. Most of its range is in rainforests, but it is also known from a wide range of other habitats such as dry forests, grasslands, mangrove, Cerrado, and dry xerophytic areas. It lives in herds of 20–300 individuals that typically take up about 120 km2 to fully function. Members of this species are omnivorous, feeding mostly on fruit, and are usually found traveling great distances to obtain it. If this resource is in demand and difficult to find, peccaries eat leaves, stems, or animal parts. White-lipped peccaries have several unique attributes that allow them to stay with and identify their herd, which is essential for their survival in the wild.
Baird's tapir, also known as the Central American tapir, is a species of tapir native to Mexico, Central America and northwestern South America. It is one of four Latin American species of tapir.
The white-tailed deer, also known as the whitetail or Virginia deer, is a medium-sized deer native to the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and South America as far south as Peru and Bolivia. It has also been introduced to New Zealand, Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, the Lesser Antilles, and some countries in Europe, such as Finland, the Czech Republic, Romania and Serbia. In the Americas, it is the most widely distributed wild ungulate.
Plants of South American origin came to dominate the tropical lowlands of Central America, as did South American freshwater fish and invertebrates. 95% of Central American freshwater fish are South American in origin, with only the Tropical gar (Atractosteus tropicus), three clupeids (Dorosoma), a catostomid (Ictiobus), and an ictalurid (Ictalurus) of North American origin.
The tropical gar is a species of fish found from southern Mexico to Costa Rica. This gar inhabits a wide range of fresh and brackish water habitats such as rivers, floodplains, lakes and pools, but avoids areas with a strong current. It reaches lengths of up to 1.25 m (4 ft) and a weight up to 2.9 kg (6.4 lb). The tropical gar looks very similar to the longnose gar in color and markings, but can be distinguished by its shorter, broader snout. The tropical gar's diet consists mainly of cichlids and other fish.
Dorosoma is a genus of gizzard shads, fish of the herring family Clupeidae. The five species are native to the New World, and are known from both freshwater and the waters of estuaries and bays.
Ictiobus, also known as buffalo fish or simply buffalo, is a genus of freshwater fish common in the United States, but also found in Canada, Mexico, and Guatemala. They are the largest North American suckers, reaching up to 1.23 m (4.0 ft) in length. They are sometimes mistaken for carp because of the flat face and large, silver scales running along the body, though they lack the whisker-like barbels common to carp. Buffalo fish live in most types of freshwater bodies where panfish are found, such as ponds, creeks, rivers, and lakes. Ictiobus fish were caught by the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
The montane vegetation of the region is distinct from the lowland vegetation, and includes species with origins in temperate North America, including oaks (Quercus), Pines (Pinus) and alders (Alnus), as well as a some species with origins in temperate South America, including Weinmannia and Drimys .
The Petén-Veracruz moist forests ecoregion, of the Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forest Biome, is found in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico.
Scinax staufferi is a species of frog in the family Hylidae. It is found in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests, subtropical or tropical moist montane forests, moist savanna, subtropical or tropical seasonally wet or flooded lowland grassland, freshwater marshes, intermittent freshwater marshes, pastureland, rural gardens, heavily degraded former forest, ponds, and canals and ditches.
Leptodactylus melanonotus is a species of frog in the family Leptodactylidae. It is found in Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests, subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical mangrove forests, subtropical or tropical moist montane forests, dry savanna, moist savanna, subtropical or tropical seasonally wet or flooded lowland grassland, intermittent freshwater lakes, freshwater marshes, intermittent freshwater marshes, pastureland, plantations, rural gardens, urban areas, heavily degraded former forest, water storage areas, ponds, and canals and ditches.
The Pacific screech owl is a species of owl in the family Strigidae. It is found in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forest, subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest, subtropical or tropical mangrove forest, and heavily degraded former forest.
The tody motmot is a species of bird in the family Momotidae. It is monotypic within the genus Hylomanes. It is found in Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest and subtropical or tropical moist montane forest.
The rusty sparrow is a species of bird in the Passerellidae family that is found in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests, subtropical or tropical moist montane forests, and subtropical or tropical high-altitude shrubland.
The scaly-throated foliage-gleaner, also known as the spectacled foliage-gleaner, is a species of bird in the Furnariidae family. It is found in Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Panama. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.
The elegant or blue-hooded euphonia is a species of bird in the Fringillidae family. It is found in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama.
The northern bentbill is a species of bird in the family Tyrannidae. It is found in Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forest, subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest, and heavily degraded former forest.
The spot-breasted wren is a species of bird in the family Troglodytidae. It is found in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forest, subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest, subtropical or tropical moist montane forest, and heavily degraded former forest.
The mangrove vireo is a species of bird in the family Vireonidae.
The ivory-billed woodcreeper is a species of bird in the subfamily Dendrocolaptinae.
This is an Index of Central America-related articles. This index defines Central America as the seven nations of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.