facts about the caatinga, Brazil.
facts about the caatinga, Brazil.

Discover 25 Fascinating Facts About the Caatinga, the Only Biome that is 100% Brazilian

The Caatinga, Brazil’s natural treasure, holds incredible secrets that reflect its unique biodiversity and importance to the ecosystem. In this article, we dive into 25 fascinating facts about the Caatinga, connecting you with this amazing biome.

Discovering the Wonders of the Caatinga: 25 Fascinating Facts and Riches of the Biome

Curiosidades sobre a Caatinga.
Fascinating Facts About the Caatinga. Photo: Diego Mendoça.

1. Endemism in Fauna

Recent studies have identified 327 animal species unique to the Caatinga, including 13 mammals, 23 lizards, 20 fish, and 15 birds. Additionally, there are 323 endemic plant species found within this biome.

2. Endemism in Flora

The Caatinga is home to 323 unique plant species, showcasing the unique botanical richness of this Brazilian biome.

3. Territorial Range

Covering nearly 10% of Brazil’s territory, the Caatinga spans approximately 740,000 km².

4. Insectivorous Guardians

Conserved areas of the Caatinga can host up to 200 species of ants, playing a crucial role in ecological balance.

5. Challenges of Degradation

Sadly, half of the Caatinga has been impacted by human activity, with 15% to 20% of the biome in a high state of degradation.

6. Birds in Danger

The Spix’s macaw and Lear’s macaw face the risk of extinction, with fewer than 150 individuals fighting for survival.

7. Thermal Extremes

During the dry season, soil temperatures can reach a staggering 60°C, challenging the life adapted to this unique environment.

8. Survival Strategies

The loss of leaves during the dry season is a strategic adaptation that helps plants conserve water and energy.

9. Biological Exclusivity

Unique in its diversity, the Caatinga encompasses 8 northeastern states, representing 10% of the national territory and 70% of the northeastern region.

10. Radiant Luminosity

With about 2,800 hours of sunlight per year, the Caatinga stands out as the “biome of light,” especially in Ceará.

11. Pedological Diversity

The crystalline and sedimentary soils of the Caatinga contribute to its biological richness and unique adaptability.

12. Arboreal Caatinga

Tall forests, with trees reaching up to 20 meters in height, create a lush landscape in the rainy season.

13. Shrubby Caatinga

Lower areas display a shrubby Caatinga, with smaller trees associated with cacti and bromeliads.

14. Intricate Vegetation

The Carrasco, with its dense, tangled shrubs, challenges even the most intrepid explorers, found only in the western part of the Ibiapaba plateau and south of the Arapique plateau.

15. Persistent Dry Forest

With leaves that withstand drought, the Dry Forest forms forests on slopes and mountain tops.

16. Day of Celebration

National Caatinga Day, on April 28th, honors the legacy of Professor João Vasconcelos Sobrilho and highlights the biodiversity of the biome.

17. Inselberg

The ‘inselberg,’ a unique rock, symbolizes the Caatinga’s natural resistance to erosion.

18. Millennial Transformations

12,000 years ago, the Caatinga experienced a humid period, witnessing dramatic seasonal changes.

19. Juazeiro

The Juazeiro is a resilient plant that keeps its green leaves even during droughts due to its roots that tap into underground moisture. Unlike many species, the Juazeiro does not shed its leaves during dry periods and can reach up to 16 meters in height.

20. Macambira

Macambira is a bromeliad that thrives in sunlight, noted for its succulent leaves. Its leaves are used for cattle feed, flour, and mush production, while its stalk is widely used in roofing.

21. Caatinga Cuisine

Brazilian cuisine gains diversity by incorporating unique ingredients from the semi-arid region, such as umbu, juazeiro, passion fruit from the Caatinga, and cacti, previously used only in animal feed. This practice, extending beyond the semi-arid borders, enriches national gastronomy.

22. Intermittent Hydrography

Intermittent rivers, like the São Francisco, define the hydrography of the Caatinga, flowing only during the rains.

23. World Heritage

The Serra da Capivara National Park, predominantly Caatinga, is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

24. Adapted Felids

The felids of the Caatinga, although smaller, are examples of adaptation to the less abundant resources.

25. Carnaúba

The emblematic tree of the Caatinga, the Carnaúba, is notable for its waterproofing wax, used in various industries and generating over 100,000 jobs between the states of Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, and Piauí.


Curiosidades sobre a Caatinga. O tatu-bola-da-caatinga.
Fascinating Facts About the Caatinga. The Caatinga armadillo, an endemic species threatened with extinction. Photo: Joaquim Neto.

As we uncover these curiosities, we invite you to explore the richness of the Caatinga, a biome deserving our attention and preservation. Connect with nature, discover its secrets, and contribute to the conservation of this Brazilian heritage.

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