AskDefine | Define fauna

Dictionary Definition



1 all the animal life in a particular region [ant: vegetation]
2 a living organism characterized by voluntary movement [syn: animal, animate being, beast, brute, creature] [also: faunae (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary




fauna (plural: faunae or faunas)
  1. animals considered as a group; especially those of a particular country, region, time, etc.
  2. a book, cataloguing the animals of a country etc.



animals considered as a group
a book, cataloging the animals of a country etc.

Crimean Tatar




fauna (more common word is ayvanat)



Extensive Definition

Fauna is all of the animal life of any particular region or time. The corresponding term for plants is flora.
Zoologists and paleontologists use fauna to refer to a typical collection of animals found in a specific time or place, e.g. the "Sonoran Desert fauna" or the "Burgess shale fauna".
Paleontologists sometimes refer to a sequence of faunal stages, which is a series of rocks all containing similar fossils.
The name comes from Fauna, a Roman fertility and earth goddess, the Roman god Faunus, and the related forest spirits called Fauns. All three words are cognates of the name of the Greek god Pan, and panis is the Greek equivalent of fauna. Fauna is also the word for a book that catalogues the animals in such a manner. The term was first used by Linnaeus in the title of his 1747 work Fauna Suecica.

Subdivisions of fauna


Epifauna are animals that live upon the surface of sediments or soils.


Infauna are aquatic animals that live within the bottom substratum rather than on its surface. Bacteria and microalgae may also live in the interstices of bottom sediments. On average, infaunal animals become progressively rarer with increasing water depth and distance from shore, whereas bacteria show more constancy in abundance, tending toward one billion cells per milliliter of interstitial seawater. (Infauna are benthos that live buried in underwater mud.)


Macrofauna are benthic or soil organisms which are at least one millimeter in length.


Megafauna are large animals of any particular region or time. For example, Australian megafauna.


Meiofauna are small benthic invertebrates that live in both marine and fresh water environments. The term Meiofauna loosely defines a group of organisms by their size, larger than microfauna but smaller than macrofauna, rather than a taxonomic grouping. In practice these are organisms that can pass through a 1 mm mesh but will be retained by a 45 μm mesh, but the exact dimensions will vary from researcher to researcher. Whether an organism will pass through a 1 mm mesh will also depend upon whether it is alive or dead at the time of sorting.


Mesofauna are macroscopic soil invertebrates such as arthropods, earthworms, and nematodes.


Microfauna are microscopic or very small animals (usually including protozoans and very small animals such as rotifers).


Other terms include avifauna, which means "bird fauna" and piscifauna (or ichthyofauna), which means "fish fauna".

Fauna treatises

Classic faunas

fauna in Breton: Fauna
fauna in Catalan: Fauna
fauna in Czech: Fauna
fauna in Danish: Fauna
fauna in German: Fauna
fauna in Estonian: Loomastik
fauna in Modern Greek (1453-): Πανίδα
fauna in Spanish: Fauna
fauna in Esperanto: Faŭno
fauna in French: Faune (biologie)
fauna in Croatian: Fauna (životinje)
fauna in Indonesian: Fauna
fauna in Italian: Fauna
fauna in Hebrew: פאונה
fauna in Luxembourgish: Déierewelt
fauna in Malay (macrolanguage): Fauna
fauna in Dutch: Fauna (dierenleven)
fauna in Japanese: 動物相
fauna in Norwegian: Fauna
fauna in Occitan (post 1500): Fauna (biologia)
fauna in Polish: Fauna
fauna in Portuguese: Fauna
fauna in Romanian: Faună
fauna in Simple English: Animalia
fauna in Slovak: Fauna
fauna in Swedish: Fauna
fauna in Turkish: Fauna
fauna in Chinese: 動物相

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Animalia, and fish, animal kingdom, animal life, animality, beasts, beasts of field, beasts of prey, big game, birds, brute creation, cattle, domestic animals, furry creatures, game, livestock, small game, stock, wild animals, wildlife
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