The term freshwater biome refers to a region of the aquatic biome characterized by a much lower salt content than the saltwater biome. Within the freshwater biome are a number of different zones. Each of these zones has specific animals that are most common in it. For example, those within wetlands are quite different than those within the littoral zone of a river, and are also different from those in the freshwater biome of an estuary.
One of the most common creatures in a freshwater biome is the extremely small animals known as the cladoceran. These are more frequently known as water fleas, and they are tiny creatures which feed on the cyanobacteria — or blue-green algae — which are prevalent in all freshwater zones. Cladocerans serve as a food source for a number of different species further up the food chain.
Fish are, of course, a very common creature found in freshwater biomes. In rivers and streams, in lakes and ponds, anywhere there is fresh water, depending on the location, one is likely to find a myriad species of fish. Some of the most common fish species in freshwater biomes are trout, salmon, and bass, but there are many others as well. These fish may feed on other, smaller freshwater fish, or on insects.
Insects are also very common in freshwater biomes, as there is usually ample stagnant water for them to reproduce. Mosquitoes can be found almost anywhere there is fresh water, as can black flies. Ticks, leeches, and chiggers are also found in freshwater biomes, and can be a severe annoyance to the unprepared. Dragonflies and butterflies are also often found on the edge of the freshwater biomes, with abundant plant life and food around available to them. Insects play a crucial role as a food source for other creatures in the freshwater biome.
Amphibians thrive in freshwater biomes, whether they be running water or stagnant marshland. Hundreds of species of frogs, toads, and salamanders all make their homes in the rivers and lakes of the world.
Water-loving snakes such as water moccasins also make their homes in the freshwater biomes of our planet. Their reptilian animal cousins the alligators and the freshwater crocodile may also be found in certain places on Earth. Turtles such as the snapping turtle and the box turtle can also be found in the freshwater biome.
Birds also make their home in the freshwater biome. Some are fairly common sightings, such as many species of ducks, geese, and swans. Others are rarer, though still fairly common, such as species of crane or heron. The birds that live in the freshwater biome may feed on a number of different things. Some pick through the mud by the shore to find tasty insects to eat. Others dive beneath the water to feast on fish or other small creatures.
Lastly, there are the mammals that call the freshwater biome their home. Though not as common as the birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, or fish that live in the freshwater regions of the world, mammals still play an important role in this crucial ecology. When people think of a freshwater animal, they’re usually filled with the thought of its cuteness. One need only consider the manatee, the otter, or the beaver, to see this. Three types of animal are common to certain freshwater regions, and are three of people’s top choices for adorable critters.