Tropical rainforests cover only 6 percent of the Earth's surface but produce 40 percent of the world's oxygen. Usually located around the equator, they have a warm and wet climate. They are called "rainforests" because of the large amounts of rain they get every year. Although they cover only a small part of the world, more than half of all plant and animal species inhabit rainforests, making them one of the world's most inhabited homes.
Millions of different species of insects inhabit tropical forests, and they greatly outnumber the larger animal types. A few of the more common insect types include butterflies, mosquitoes, beetles, roaches and ants. Specific insects within the La Selva, Costa Rica, rainforests are the pleasing fungus beetle and the damaged-leaf mimic katydid.
Bird species represent a species of diversity in tropical rainforests. Hundreds of parrot species live in the canopies of tropical rainforests. The scarlet macaw lives in the rainforests of Central and South America; it features very bright and colorful feathers. Recent human capturing---due to demand in the pet trade---of these birds has led to their decline and endangerment.
Great Apes and Monkeys
Great apes and monkeys are one of the common "indicator" species of a typical rainforest. They live in specific groups, much like tribes, and in the way human hunter/gatherer tribes once lived. Orangutans are large apes that almost equal the size of gorillas---the largest of all primates. They have long reddish brown hair and have large bodies with no tails. They mostly live in the tropical rain forests of Southeast Asia, particularly on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra and in the lowlands of Indonesia.
Reptiles, especially snakes, roam the forest floors of tropical forests all around the world. Some species are "arboreal" which means they live in trees. The Eyelash Pit Viper---both small and arboreal---lives in the forests of Costa Rica, Peru, Venezuela, Honduras, Panama, Ecuador and Mexico. It gets its name from the protrusion of modified scales above each eye. Green anacondas are known to be the largest snakes in the world, reaching up to 30 feet in length and weighing as much as 500 pounds. They live in the marshes and swamps of tropical rainforests in the Amazon and Orinoco basins.