The vegetation and fauna of Antarctica are distinguished by their exceptional poverty and originality. Most of the territory of Antarctica lies within the natural zone of the Antarctic deserts. Here scant vegetation is concentrated only in oases. In summer, their stone surface is heated by the sun and warms the surrounding air. Therefore here grow mosses, lichens, in lakes – algae. Occasionally you can see mushrooms, and even flowering plants.
The animal world of Antarctica is associated with the sea, rich in plankton and fish, which is a source of food for birds and mammals. Typical animals of Antarctica are penguins: there are several species. These birds do not fly, but swim well. Penguins eat fish and various crustaceans. A thick layer of subcutaneous fat protects them from cold. The largest are the emperor penguins of about 1 m in height. They do not leave land for a long time. The nest is built far from the shore from pebbles, in which the female lays one egg. His
“incubates” the male, holding on the paws and covering with a warm down fold of his body. Toddler parents are fed alternately. And the baby’s food is “bird’s milk”: an acidic liquid from semi-digested fish. Her parents inject a chick into the beak. By the summer, chicks should grow enough,
The most numerous Adélie penguins, whose growth does not exceed 50 cm. They winter in the ocean, and on the coast appear in the summer. For nesting choose low islets, which are well illuminated by the sun. On land, Adélie penguins are awkward, heavily and badly moving, as if dragging their bodies, but they swim well in the water. On land they do not have enemies, but in the sea – these are seals. Trouble penguin, who did not have time to jump ashore.
There are five kinds of seals known in Antarctica. The largest of them is a sea elephant weighing up to 6 tons. Masses over half a ton reach the sea lion. The old males around the neck grow a mane. The most gluttonous is the sea leopard. He hunts not only on penguins, but also on the young of other seals.
In coastal waters, the
largest animal of the world lives – the blue whale. Its food is plankton. There are predatory whales – sperm whales and killer whales.
There are many birds in Antarctica. In summer, albatrosses, petrels, cormorants, skuas, skuas arrive to its shores. In Antarctica live ticks, most of which parasitize on the body of animals, and wingless flies. However, with their din, animals revive the monotonous howls of the Antarctic wind only in the summer. For the winter birds fly away, the seals swim north. Only penguins remain to winter during the long Polar night, gathering in large colonies and thus escaping the cold.