While its plants have, understandably, commanded most attention, the Fynbos region also contains several categories of the animal kingdom that are equally significant in global biodiversity terms.
Because of its nutrient-poor soils, fynbos supports few big mammals, and its bird-life is not particularly spectacular, with just six endemics.
But the insects, reptiles and amphibians are also unique and fascinating, as even the briefest of glimpses confirm. There are at least 21 endemic invertebrates living just in the caves on Table Mountain; the blind Cave Shrimp is one of only two species in an entire taxonomic Order. The Velvet Worm or Peripatis has remained virtually unchanged for 530 million years. A single researcher found 12 new species of oil-collecting bees in less than two years. Also more than 80 indigenous fynbos plant species depend for their pollination on long-tongued flies, whose needle-like probiscuses can be twice as long as their bodies.
Extract from The Table Mountain Fund book – authored by John Yeld.
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