Earth’s major ecosystems: the tropics

Free-standing trees and dim light immerse the rainforest hall in a mystical twilight. After all, only one percent of incident light reaches the ground of undisturbed rainforests.

Tropical rainforests are considered to be treasure troves of biodiversity. However, even today they remain largely unexplored. Documenting species is difficult because many reside in the almostinaccessible tree crowns. Furthermore, many species are secretive or well-camouflaged. Even our museum rainforest only reveals its secrets upon closer inspection! The display is almost devoid of legends or labels. Two computer terminals give detailed information on the environment and its inhabitants, be they plant, animal or human.

  • The largest diorama in the rainforest hall is dedicated to Africa, where the largest land animals such as the secretive okapi live. More than any other large African mammal, the okapi managed to elude European researchers, and was only discovered in 1901. Africa is also home of our closest relatives: discover a bonobo couple feasting on the fruits of a cola tree.
  • New Guinea is home to most birds of paradise. Step onto our observation platform in order to watch their courtship in the tree crowns.
  • The third rainforest diorama represents South America, as the hunting jaguar and the sloth suggest. The emphasis in this room-high showcase is on the manifold adaptions of tropical amphibians – an intensively researched topic at the Stuttgart State Museum of Natural History for many years.
  • Rain forests only cover a fraction of the tropics. Like everywhere on Earth, vegetation dramatically changes with altitude in mountainous regions. The Andean Condor, a New World vulture and largest flying bird, lives above the treeline in the South American Andes.

Amazon rainforest


South American horned frog (Pacman frog)

Emerals tree boa

Blue Manakin


Coral snake

Otter shrew

Woerman's fruit bat


Raggiana Bird-of-paradise