8 junio, 2024

Flora and fauna of the Ecuadorian coast: main species

The diversity of the flora and fauna of the Ecuadorian coast It is due to the combination of two factors: its equatorial tropical location and two large ocean currents that travel along its coast.

One of these currents is cold, the Humboldt current, while the El Niño current is warm. Ecuador’s coastline is around 2,500 km long, including the Galapagos, Puná and Jambelí islands.

From the Colombian border along the Mataje River to the south, many islands with mangroves and marshes, inlets and estuaries are found on this coast. Also, this ecosystem has rivers that flow into the bay, plains, cliffs, and sandy beaches.

The biodiversity of the flora and fauna of the Ecuadorian coast is impressive. In total, this area is home to more than six thousand species of plants. Of these, some 1,200 are natives.

Also, one fifth of the 800 bird species that inhabit the area are native. To this list must be added 142 species of mammals and 253 classes of reptiles and amphibians.

In this sense, the above data does not take into account the native species of the Galapagos Islands. Thanks to its isolation, there are many endemic animals that contribute to the richness of the flora and fauna of the Ecuadorian coast.

Flora of the coast of Ecuador

The arid strip of savannah occupies about half of the Ecuadorian coast, and is found on occasional low shrubs and isolated ceiba trees. This desert area contrasts sharply with the north coast and the inland part of the south coast.

In these humid regions the typical and dense growth of the tropical jungle abounds, extending as forests covered with moss, lichens, ferns, among others.

On the other hand, there are numerous mangrove forests and tropical dry forests. The latter are home to coconut, deciduous, manzanillo, carob trees and many endemic species such as the opuntia cactus (nopal) and palo santo.

Additionally, coastal cloud forests provide habitat for bromeliads, orchids, and fig trees.


The roses cultivated in the coastal areas of Ecuador are internationally considered by experts, since they have certain characteristics that make them superior to other species of the same family.

This is due, in large part, to the good conditions of the land, climate or light that this region of the Ecuadorian country provides.


Orchids are of great importance on the Ecuadorian coast, as it is home to many unique species in this region. It is a flower with great export worldwide and that requires a series of requirements and care that make it very valuable.

Fauna of the coast of Ecuador

On the Peruvian coast, mangroves and forests are a refuge for a large number of birds such as frigates, blue-footed boobies (gannets), masked boobies, gulls, pelicans, swallows, sparrows, terns, and red and blue-footed petrels.

The cloud forests, meanwhile, are home to toucans, hummingbirds and robins.

On the other hand, the marine fauna includes sea lions, seals, parrot fish, shrimp, lobster, clown fish, sea cucumbers, tuna, croakers and snappers.

Regarding reptiles, two of all species stand out: the giant Galapagos tortoises and the only marine iguanas. Likewise, the great variety of toads, frogs, lizards and snakes stands out.

Also, on the Isla de la Plata you can see humpback whales and dolphins from mid-June to October.

Similarly, in the cloud forests are found the howler monkey, the nocturnal kinkajous, the red-tailed squirrel and the marsupial frog.

The spectacled bear, which lives mainly in the Andean zone, can be seen in the dry forests near the coast.


This species comes from the coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific, and can reach the Ecuadorian coast. They are characterized by their striking colors and because they live together with anemones. They are oviparous and feed on plants, benthic invertebrates, and zooplankton.

red tailed squirrel

This mammal inhabits the coast and foothills of central Ecuador, although there are also species in some temperate, subtropical and tropical forests. It spends its life in the trees and feeds mainly on fruits. It is a small squirrel with large ears, quite similar to the Guayaquil squirrel.

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