Story by: Annie West
Penguins, everyone knows and loves them. You may have seen them in the zoo but many people have never seen them outside of captivity. Penguins can be found only in the southern hemisphere and many people may assume that they live primarily in Antarctica but that is not the case. They mostly live between latitudes 45 degrees and 60 degrees S. If however you do not know what a penguin looks like, this is a general idea. They are short and stocky, are mostly black and white, red or yellow beaks, cute, useless wings, and yellow little feet.
Penguins are not only cute, they are very important to their environment. With their poop, penguins are able to fertilize the landscape around them and provide vital nutrients to plants. For example, penguin feces contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and organic carbon and helps the plants around them. They are also very important to other animals. Predators such as orcas and leopard seals, depend on penguins as a stable source of food. Without them, these organisms would lose a critical food source and this could, as a result, destabilize the biome.
So, how many different species of penguins are there? There are 18 total species of penguins as of 2023. The most common species however are Macaroni penguins. Macaroni penguins have black upperparts, white underparts, and distinctive yellow and black plumes on the top of its head. These penguins are often perceived as Royal penguins but don’t be mistaken. My personal favorite penguin is the Emperor penguin. They are very cute but also the biggest penguin out of all 18 species. They are also one of the largest birds in the world.
All in all, an all time favorite animal is penguins and are widely loved around the world. They may look different than other birds but other birds pale in comparison to them.