What Is the Definition of Flora and Fauna?

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Flora and fauna mean plants and animals; the word “flora” is used to discuss plant life, while the word “fauna” refers to animal life. This term is often applied to a specific biome, ecosystem or place, such as “the flora and fauna of the New Mexico desert” or “common flora and fauna of the tundra.” These are just two forms of life that can exist in a place and do not include other life forms such as fungi or single-celled, non-plant and non-animal organisms such as bacteria; the general term to refer to all of the different forms of life that can exist in a specific place is “biota.”

While the terms “flora” and “fauna” can be used to describe organisms that are currently found in a specific place, such as the plants and animals of the Amazon Rainforest, these scientific terms can also be applied to different time periods. For example, the Pleistocene era, which began millions of years ago, had many different flora and fauna than those found on Earth today. The term “faunal stages” can be used in paleontology to describe fossilized animals that are found in different layers of rock in a single location. These two words are both derived from the names of Roman gods.